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Post-election tensions and attacks from armed groups threaten to increase the number of internally displaced persons

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • December 2020
Post-election tensions and attacks from armed groups threaten to increase the number of internally displaced persons

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In the prefecture of Haut-Mbomou, controlled by armed groups, food assistance carried out in November is expected to promote Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. On the other hand, with insufficient assistance in the prefectures of Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Haute-Kotto, poor households rely more on gathered products and are forced to adopt Crisis (IPC Phase 3) strategies.

    • Floods and inter-community conflicts in the northern prefectures have negatively impacted populations’ livelihoods. With below-average harvests limiting normal food access, internally displaced persons (IDP) and poor households in these areas will be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until January. This may escalate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3); in addition to declining livelihoods, factors such as early stock depletion from harvests, seasonal price increases, and low incomes will lead to decreased food consumption.

    • Decreased COVID-19 community spread since July, land border openings, and the overall stable security situation leading up to the pre-election season resulted in the return of some IDP and voluntary repatriation of refugees in neighboring countries. This context has also allowed most households to obtain primary food and income sources from agricultural, fishing, and hunting production.





    • The decrease in COVID-19 community spread observed since mid-July continues. As of December 30, cumulative cases total 4,963, with 4,859 recoveries and 63 deaths. As a result, restrictions were eased, and land borders with Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were opened. However, food product imports remain below average, and their high prices are negatively impacting households’ purchasing power, especially in urban centers.
    • Just before the election season, the overall security situation became calmer due to increased security and administrative presence in prefectures, except for Basse-Kotto. This encouraged the return of some IDP, who number an estimated 623,000 as of late October, in addition to refugees in neighboring countries. However, since the beginning of the election campaign, the situation has remained precarious in many prefectures where armed groups are active.
    • During the election period, community mobilizations, paired with the easing of restrictions, could lead to increased COVID-19 spread. The economic slowdown is therefore likely to continue, negatively impacting populations’ jobs, income, and purchasing power.
    • During the voter registration period, armed groups attempted to disrupt the process in multiple sub-prefectures. Despite increased peace agreements and cooperation frameworks, heightened inter-community tensions and attacks from armed groups persisted during and after the elections. New population displacements are expected in the coming months. Additionally, the arrival of Sudanese and Chadian migratory herds could, as usual, cause conflicts and destruction to fields and harvests all along their routes.


    Ahead of the presidential and legislative elections at the end of this month, the government deployed increased numbers of territorial authorities and security forces. Additionally, disarmament and demobilization operations in Bria, Kaga-Bandoro, and Ndélé impacted nearly 775 combatants. The relatively stable security situation resulted in 18,000 fewer IDPs, primarily in the prefectures of Haute-Kotto and Vakaga. However, the previous months’ floods caused new displacements in the prefectures of Bamingui-Bangoran, Ouaka, Ombella M’Poko, and Bangui. At the same time, humanitarian assistance has facilitated the repatriation of approximately 2,800 refugees. This general calm does not extend to the eastern part of the country, where armed groups collect illegal taxes from populations and frequently disrupt the supply of local markets from South Sudan. Additionally, attacks by armed groups were observed in the northwest and central regions of the country on the eve of the elections, leading to temporary population displacements.

    Despite the floods and limited access to production inputs, field access was better this season, and harvests currently underway are expected to be above last year’s levels and the average of the past five years. Local markets have average or higher supplies of cassava, maize, and peanuts. Fishing and hunting products are also available. Deterioration of the road network limits travel to these markets by buyers from urban centers. As a result, supply is higher than demand in local markets.   A seasonal price decrease has been observed, with levels below last year, including a 25 percent decrease for maize and a 28 percent decrease for cassava. However, an 18 percent increase is noted for sorghum, which has a later harvest. Humanitarian assistance also reduces household demand, resulting in lower market prices in zones receiving it. However, Maize prices remain high compared to last year in areas that suffered floods, with a 50 percent increase in Ndélé and a 25 percent increase in Berberati.

    Despite the opening of land borders (except the Chad border), prices of imported products are increasing overall, with a 46 percent increase for imported rice and an 11 percent increase for beans compared to last year. However, compared to last month, respective decreases of 15 percent and 12 percent have been recorded connected with the decreased demand on the markets. Payment of customs taxes at the Douala port and upon entry to the country, illicit collections along the corridor, high transport costs due to unfavorable road conditions, and wholesalers’ speculative behaviors have all contributed to high prices for imported products. Further, due to the looting of registered shops during the last elections, some wholesalers are hesitant to maintain large stocks.

    Rapid needs assessments conducted by humanitarian groups between October and November show that their own agricultural, fishing, hunting, and gathering products are the primary source of food and income for most households.  However, in zones impacted by floods, with high numbers of IDP, or under the control of armed groups, markets and humanitarian assistance are an essential food source. Food assistance provided in November is expected to reach 70 percent of the population in the prefecture of Haut-Mbomou. This would promote Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) in the prefecture. In the prefectures of Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Haute-Kotto, on the other hand, where assistance reaches less than 20 percent of the population, poor households rely more on gathered products. They are forced to adopt strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as decreasing their consumption and/or the number of daily meals.

    Floods and inter-community conflicts in the northern prefectures have negatively impacted populations’ livelihoods.  With below-average harvests limiting normal food access, IDP and poor households in these areas will be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until January. The sustained closure of the Chad border limits the supply of basic food products from this country.  As a result, between February and May, early stock depletion and atypical seasonal price increases will cause them to decrease their food consumption and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.



    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

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    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

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    Figure 2

    Source: FEWS NET/ACLED data

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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