UN Dispatch Podcast: What’s Behind the Rebellion in the Central African Republic?

UPDATE: After a few weeks of relative calm, the rebellion in the Central African Republic sharply escalated over the weekend. The president of the Central African Republic fled the capitol city, Bangui.  Francois Bozize is now reportedly holed up in Cameroon. In the meantime, there are reports of looting in the city, and at least 13 South African troops were killed in the melee.

As this rebellion was heating up a couple months ago, I spoke with America’s foremost expert on CAR politics, Louisa Lombard for a UN Dispatch podcast. Given the events of the past couple days, it makes sense to re-up our conversation. Dr. Lombard explains the roots of the political crisis and why the international community should pay attention to the escalating crisis in this poor, landlocked country.

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For the past ten days or so, a rebellion has swiftly gained steam across much of the landlocked country.  As I type, a rebel coalition is massed about 45 miles from the capitol city. Yesterday, the Security Council was briefed on the unfolding situation in the Central African Republic. This is shaping up to be Africa’s first conflict of 2013.

I speak with Louisa Lombard, the Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography, University of California at Berkeley who explains the roots of this conflict and what the international community can do to help mitigate this crisis.