Conflict Scan – Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in CAR – December 2016

The project “Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in Central African Republic” is operating in a context where conflicts are fueled by ethno-religious divisions, materializing in clashes between the pro-Muslim Ex-Seleka and the pro-Christians Anti-Balaka. SFCG, with funding from the bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), is implementing a 12-month program to prevent high-risk atrocities between Muslims and Christians in PK5 (a neighborhood at high-risk for violence in the capital) and its surrounding areas. In this framework, SFCG carries out bi-annual conflict scans using a qualitative approach with surveys and focus groups. The scans identify important developments in the conflict that may impact the project implementation.

97% of those interviewed said violence had decreased in the two months preceding the survey. Participants explained that this does not mean that there is no violence and that the conflict is over; however, 40% of respondents report not knowing about existing conflict in their communities. This study shows that the major conflicts affecting CAR are fluid, and the population has a tendency to minimize or to not distinguish between them. The concept of “inter-community conflict” is highly represented during discussions, but the division lines identified are most often religious (Christians/Muslims – 29%) and/or related to economic and power inequality (28%). Despite the focus on religious and economic divisions, participants rank political conflicts (51%) as the most high-risk for the future, and the tensions linked to land issues have also been highlighted as factors that could potentially escalate the situation toward violent conflict.