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|Participant in Central African Republic Civil War|
Joseph Zoundeiko (military wing)
Séléka CPSK-CPJP-UFDR is an alliance of rebel militia factions that overthrew the Central African Republic (CAR) government on March 24, 2013. Séléka leader Michel Djotodia became the nation's president from March 2013 until his resignation in January 2014. Members of Séléka are almost entirely Muslim.
The word Seleka means "Coalition" in Sango, one of the CAR's two national languages, the other being French. The international media has shortened the full name Séléka CPSK-CPJP-UFDR to la Séléka in French or often Seleka in English.
The term Séléka had been used previously in CAR politics when Jean-Jacques Démafouth launched the political party New Alliance for Progress (French: Nouvelle Alliance pour le Progrès) with the Sango name Fini Seleka.
The rebel coalition originated in an agreement signed between factions of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) and the Patriotic Convention for Saving the Country (CPSK), two of the CAR's many anti-government militias on August 20, 2012. CPJP in this case refers to the "Fundamental" splinter group of the CPJP, one of many militias involved in the CAR's long-running civil war. A different faction of the CPJP signed a peace accord with the government on August 25, 2012.
The Seleka first emerged on September 15, 2012 under the name alliance CPSK-CPJP, when it published a press release taking responsibility for the attacks on three towns that day. It was the last of the major rebel groups to do so. The CPSK was hardly known. On December 15, 2012 the group published its first press release using the full name "Séléka CPSK-CPJP-UFDR" thus including the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR). Two groups that did not appear in the title, the long-standing militia Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), and the newly minted Alliance for Revival and Rebuilding (A2R), were also reportedly part of the alliance.
The Seleka weren’t an overtly religious movement, but they were mostly Muslim, as was Michel Djotodia, the president they installed in March 2013 after taking power. The fighters that ushered in Djotodia ran wild across the country during his time in office, plundering villages and killing Christians as well as supporters of the former president Francois Bozize.
In September 2013 Michel Djotodia announced that Seleka had been dissolved. The disbanded group has dispersed into the countryside and have been committing mass atrocities according to Human Rights Watch. Executions, rape and looting by ex-Seleka fighters after the coup and disbanding have fomented religious tension where the population is 80% Christian. Christian militias, using the name anti-balaka, have been formed to fight the Muslim Seleka. The United Nations is considering sending troops to stop the atrocities. On November 26, France indicated that it would boost its presence an additional 1,000 soldiers in the Central African Republic to augment its existent 400 troops if it receives U.N. backing.
On September 18, 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of rebel groups that took power in the Central African Republic in March, has killed scores of unarmed civilians, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Seleka has also engaged in wanton destruction of numerous homes and villages. The 79-page report, The Forgotten Human Rights Crisis in the Central African Republic,” details the deliberate killing of civilians – including women, children, and the elderly – between March and June 2013 and confirms the deliberate destruction of more than 1,000 homes, both in the capital, Bangui, and in the provinces. Many villagers have fled their homes and are living in the bush in fear of new attacks. Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of scores of people from injuries, hunger or sickness.
“Seleka leaders promised a new beginning for the people of the Central African Republic, but instead have carried out large-scale attacks on civilians, looting, and murder,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “What’s worse is that the Seleka have recruited children as young as 13 to carry out some of this carnage.”
On May 28, 2014, the Seleka members threw grenades before shooting indiscriminately at the Church of Fatima in the capital Bangui, killing at least 11 people. In July 2014, the government of Uganda declared that it was at war with Seleka, accusing them of forcing civilians to give food and medicine to the Lords Resistance Army and of trading ivory and minerals with them. Seleka denied the accusation.
On November 9, 2015, armed men cut the throats of 10 people in the village of Ndassima before carrying out an overnight attack nearby in Mala. Local administrator Yves Mbetigaza said "They came from two places, some from Bambari and others from Mbres." While a report on national radio described the attackers only as armed members of the Fula ethnic group (in French: Peul), Mbetigaza said they were Seleka fighters, adding that eight villagers were kidnapped in Mala and dozens of others were missing. On November 12, six hunters were killed in the village of Bandambou.
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General Ousmane Mamadou Ousmane was the president of a commission tasked with bringing military reform within Seleka.
- RFI 2012-12-20.
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- The Economist: "The Central African Republic - Ever darker" November 8, 2013
- BBC: "Central African Republic: Religious tinderbox" November 4, 2013
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- AFP 2013-01-01.
- Bouquiaux 1978, p. 307no entry exists for seleka between "sèlègbhia" (embassy) and "sèlèngbè (suffix)
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- For Bangui's last Muslims, to stray outside the safe haven is to court death. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
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- Zambia City Press: "The killing fields of CAR" by Nazanine Moshir November 10, 2013
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- "RCA : les rebelles de la coalition Séléka suspendent leurs opérations militaires". RFI. RFI. 2012-12-20. Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Pflanz, Mike (2013-03-24). "Britons told to leave Central African Republic after coup". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
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- "Centrafrique: Michel Djotodia déclare être le nouveau président de la République centrafricaine". RFI. RFI. 2013-03-24. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
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- Démafouth, Jean-Jacques (2006-07-17). "Nouvelle Alliance pour le Progrès (NAP) - " Fini Seleka". Declaration" (Press release). Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Mellgard, Emily (2015-01-29). "What is the Seleka?". Religion & Geopolitics. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
- Alkassim (2012-09-15). "communiqué de presse de l'alliance CPSK-CPJP". OverBlog. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Bouquiaux, Luc (1978). Dictionnaire sango-français = Bàkàrī sāngō̳-fàránzì. Langues et civilisations à tradition orale ; 29. Paris: Société d'études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France. ISBN 2852970163.
- Reuters (2013-03-24). "Central African Republic rebels seize capital and force president to flee". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2013-03-31.http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/18/central-african-republic-horrific-abuses-new-rulers