Potential Hot Spots: March 7, 2004


It's uncertain if the CAR is offering  permanent exile for former Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Officially, the CAR says that he can stay until he finds a new destination. Apparently Aristide told some western journalists that he was almost in prison in the CAR. Aristides arrival in the CAR has brought new media attention to the impoverished country. In fact, a hidden rebellion in the northwest is now getting some international attention. The fighting is tied to the rebellion led by former CAR army chief of staff Francois Bozize. In fact, the rebellion there has lapsed since March 2003 when Bozize fled. However, chaos continues in the north. Banditry prevents farmers from returning to their farms or, if they do return, from harvesting and selling their crops. The government reorganized the military last fall and acquired new French trucks and armored vehicles. The CAR military realized it needed increased mobility to patrol its borders and help stop banditry in the north. Villagers in Ouham province north of the capital, Bangui, have reported raids by horseman carrying AK-47 assault rifles. The attacks occur despite the presence of local militias and self-defense forces.


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