Seleka (Central African Republic)

Country: Central African Republic
Details of Formation: The Seleka rebel group was established as early as 2006. It signed a peace agreement with the government in 2007 but returned to violence in 2012 upon unsuccessful implementation of the agreement (UCDP Seleka). In 2012, a new wave of violence began, with a new rebel coalition between various factions of CAR anti-government militias (Wikipedia). They first took hold in the northeast region of CAR and advanced to the capital, where they gained control on March 24, 2013. Seleka leader Michel Djotodia then installed himself as interim president (Human Rights Watch).
Details of Termination: After they took hold of Bangui, Djotodia increasingly lost control over Seleka (UCDP Seleka). Seleka committed grave human rights violations and Djotodia tried to distance himself from Seleka by officially disbanding the group on September 13, 2013 (Human Rights Watch) and declaring the Forces armées centrafricaines as the sole legitimate armed force in charge of national defence (UCDP FPRC). Seleka did not disband and became known as ex-Seleka. The ex-Seleka members continued to commit mass atrocities, provoking the rise of Christian militias (anti-balaka) to counter the violence (Wikipedia). The increasing violence, which Djotodia could not control, made him step down as president in January 2014. In May 2014, ex-Seleka tried to reunify under the name of FPRC (UCP FPRC).
Purpose: --
Organisation: Seleka’s main leader was Djotodia, who proclaimed himself President of the CAR after the successful coup by Seleka in March 2013 (UCDP Seleka). Former Minister of Public Security and head of intelligence, Nourredine Adam, was also a Seleka member. Seleka’s rule was described as disorganised (Human Rights Watch). After the coup, Djotodia had very little control over Seleka.
Weapons and Training: --
Size: In 2013, general estimates reported between 1000 and 3500 troops of the Seleka. Other estimates claimed higher figures. (UCDP Seleka)
Reason for Membership: Seleka groups shared a sense of political and economic marginalization under the government led by President Bozizé (UCDP Seleka). They were also motivated by the almost complete absence of state security and social services under Bozizé. They were joined by foreign mercenaries. They were able to loot property with total impunity (Human Rights Watch).
Treatment of Civilians: Seleka plundered villages and killed Christians, alleged supporters of the ousted president Bozizé and other unarmed civilians, including women, children and elderly. They also destroyed homes and villages and many people were displaced (Wikipedia). Seleka soldiers carried out extrajudicial killings, tortured and raped women and girls, and conducted armed robbery and indiscriminate shootings. They also recruited child soldiers. Authorities were unable or unwilling to stop the violence (Amnesty International). President Djotodia denied that Seleka was involved in violence against civilians, despite overwhelming evidence. Seleka was able to act in total impunity for the crimes committed (Human Rights Watch).
Other Information: The full name of the group was Seleka CPSK-CPJP-UFDR. The word Seleka means “coalition” in Sango. It was an alliance of rebel militia factions. Seleka wasn’t an overtly religious movement, but were mostly Muslim, like their leader, and President, Djotodia. (Wikipedia)
References: Amnesty International. 2013. “Amnesty Internatioal’s Briefing on the Human Rights Situation in the Central African Republic.” AI Index: AFR 19/001/2013. 14 May.

Human Rights Watch. 2017. “Killing Without Consequence. War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic.” ISBN: 978-1-6231-34938

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. “FPRC.”

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. “Seleka.”

Wikipedia. “Séléka”.