The Central African Republic has launched an investigation into former President Francois Bozize, whom the government accuses of plotting a coup before last month’s elections. On December 19, the government accused Bozize of mounting “an attempted coup” with the help of armed groups, eight days before the troubled country held presidential and legislative elections. The United Nations peacekeeping force MINUSCA said the following day that the advance had been halted or rolled back. Bozize, who denies the government’s allegations, came to power in a coup in 2003 before he himself was overthrown in 2013 and the country spiralled into conflict along sectarian lines. The 74-year-old former general slipped back into the country in December 2019 after years in exile, sparking fears he planned a comeback. He was barred from contesting the polls by the CAR’s top court as he was the target of a 2014 arrest warrant for alleged murder and torture and was under UN sanctions. His absence left incumbent Faustin-Archange Touadera, 63, as the clear frontrunner. The election was attacked by the political opposition in CAR as lacking legitimacy. It could not take place in many areas – two-thirds of the country is controlled by armed groups. According to official figures, voting did not take place in 29 of the country’s 71 sub-prefectures (sub-divisions of large administrative districts), and only partly so in six others.
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