U.S. Places Sanctions on CAR Militia Commanders

Date: 
Apr 12, 2017

 

(Citations en Français, ci-dessous.)

“A strong message to armed groups in the Central African Republic,” say Experts

April 12, 2017 – Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed Central African Republic’s (CAR) Abdoulaye Hissène, a key ex-Séléka leader, and Maxime Mokom, a key Anti-Balaka leader, on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List.

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

Nathalia Dukhan, Researcher at the Enough Project, said: “Today's decision by the United States to impose unilateral targeted sanctions against two key military commanders of armed groups, Maxime Mokom and Abdoulaye Hissène, represents an act of hope in the fight against impunity in the Central African Republic. This action should demonstrate to perpetrators of atrocities and their networks that their misdeeds will not stay unpunished. In this case, Abdoulaye Hissène and Maxime Mokom, also known as the Nairobists, have been conspiring and stoking deadly sectarian violence to defend their own political and economic interests. To help prevent further deadly violence and to disrupt the financing of conflict, these sanctions must be strongly enforced by financial institutions and the gold trade worldwide and should be reinforced by similar measures from the United Nations and European Union.”

En français : “La décision unilatérale prise aujourd'hui par les Etats-Unis d'imposer des sanctions ciblées à l'encontre de deux commanditaires des violences meurtrières en Centrafrique, Maxime Mokom et Abdoulaye Hissène, représente une note d'espoir dans la lutte contre l'impunité. Cette action doit mettre en garde les responsables d'atrocités et leurs réseaux que leurs crimes ne resteront pas impunis. Dans le cas présent, Hissène et Mokom, aussi connus sous l'appellation des "Nairobistes", instrumentalisent ensemble les violences sectaires au nom d’intérêts politiques et économiques privés. Pour contribuer à mettre fin aux violences et au financement du conflit armé, ces sanctions devraient être mises en œuvre de manière effective par les institutions financières, et notamment dans le commerce de l'or, et devraient être renforcées par des mesures similaires prises par les Nations Unies et l'Union Européenne.”

Ruben de Koning, Senior Investigative Analyst at The Sentry, said: “By announcing targeted sanctions against Maxime Mokom and Abdoulaye Hissene, the United States sends a strong message to armed groups in the Central African Republic that violent strategies to gain power are a dead end and must cease. From seemingly opposing sides of the conflict, Hissene and Mokom have in the past few years conspired to keep the war going, much for their own personal benefit. The United Nations Security Council and the European Union should follow suit and adopt similar sanctions to ensure these individuals and their networks can no longer serve as spoilers to peace. In particular, Hissene is known to travel and conduct business, including in the gold trade, in Europe and the Middle East, making action by the EU particularly important.” 

En français : “En annonçant des sanctions ciblées à l'encontre de Maxim Mokom et Abdoulaye Hissène, les Etats Unis lancent un message fort aux groupes armés en Centrafrique en les prévenant que les stratégies violentes pour accéder au pouvoir mènent à l'impasse et doivent cesser. Ces individus, qui appartiennent à deux groupes opposés ont, en réalité, conspiré ensemble ces dernières années pour perpétuer la guerre, pour leur bénéfice personnel. Le Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies et l'Union Européenne devraient suivre la décision prise par les Etats Unis et adopter des sanctions similaires en vue de fragiliser encore davantage leur capacité de déstabilisation. En particulier, Hissène est connu pour ses voyages d'affaires, notamment dans le commerce de l'or, en Europe et au Moyen Orient, ce qui rend une action de l'UE d'autant plus importante.”

Hissène, a former collector of diamonds and gold, was the leader of one of the ex- Séléka rebel factions that ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013. He also served as Minister of Sports and Youth in the former President Catherine Samba-Panza’s cabinet. Hissène now leads military operations of the ex- Séléka’s most militant wing. Mokom, a former intelligence officer appointed by President Bozizé, united former army soldiers at the end of 2013 into a coordinated Anti-Balaka militia movement that ousted President Michel Djotodia. Both Hissène and Mokom also coordinated upheaval in CAR’s capital Bangui in September 2015 in a bid to undermine the electoral process.

Currently, both men command troops that were involved in a recent offensive against an ex- Séléka faction, mainly composed of the Peuhl Fulani who control parts of the resource-rich Ouaka and Basse Kotto provinces. The continuing fighting has killed hundreds, mostly civilians.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

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