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Central African Republic: Treatment of members of the Yakoma ethnic group and of students by government authorities following the failed coup attempt of 28 May 2001 (August 2002)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 23 August 2002
Citation / Document Symbol CAF39457.FE
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Central African Republic: Treatment of members of the Yakoma ethnic group and of students by government authorities following the failed coup attempt of 28 May 2001 (August 2002), 23 August 2002, CAF39457.FE, available at: [accessed 25 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

During a telephone interview of 21 August 2002, a representative of the Central African Human Rights League (Ligue centrafricaine des droits de l'homme, LCDH), based in Bangui and affiliated with the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme, FIDH), provided the following information.

In the reprisals that followed the failed coup attempt of 28 May 2001, for which General Kolingba (former Head of State and member of the Yakoma ethnic group) claimed responsibility, the Yakoma in particular were targeted by government authorities. A number of them even sought refuge in neighbouring countries, in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), in order to escape the repression. Many others were arrested and even killed. The LCDH's representative stated that her organization is not aware of students who were targeted during the violence that followed the failed coup attempt in May 2001. Nevertheless, she noted that Yakoma students, like other members of that ethnic group, were subjected to the repressive measures of the government authorities.

However, according to the LCDH's representative, the repression of the Yakoma has now ended and things have returned to normal. She also added that refugees have even returned home.

In reference to the failed coup attempt of 28 May 2001 in the Central African Republic, the FIDH stated that


the direct consequence of the coup attempt was outbursts of indiscriminate violence against any person belonging to the Yakoma ethnic group or close to that ethnic group (7 Feb. 2002).

In addition, the international human rights organization declared that it was


also deeply concerned about the massive and repeated human rights violations committed in return by government forces or their allies, in particular against the minority Yakoma ethnic group (15 June 2001).

A BBC article states that "[t]housands of Yakoma fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo following the coup attempt, after extra-judicial killings of members of their tribe" (15 Feb. 2002). The same source adds that "[a]mid widespread reports of reprisal killings of Yakoma people by government soldiers, many Yakoma civilians fled to the forests where they slept on makeshift beds woven from palm tree leaves and lived off bananas" (BBC 12 June 2001).

Country Reports 2001 indicates, among other things, that "[d]uring and following the May 28 coup attempt, security forces committed with impunity extrajudicial killings. Members of the security forces particularly targeted members of the Yakoma ethnic group, of which Kolingba [the coup leader] is a member" (Mar. 2002, Sect. 1.a). The same source cites a number of cases of members of the Yakoma ethnic group who were arrested or killed following the failed coup attempt in May 2001 (ibid.). The section of Country Reports 2001 on the Central African Republic can be found at the following address: .

In a report dated 18 July 2001, Amnesty International (AI) notes that "[h]undreds of unarmed civilians and Yakoma member[s] of the security forces involved or suspected of involvement in the coup attempt have been killed or subjected to other serious human rights violations by the state security forces." The report adds that "[n]ew cases of summary executions continue to be reported" (AI 18 July 2001).

No information on the current treatment of students and members of the Yakoma ethnic group by government authorities could be found among the documentary sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International (AI). 18 July 2001. "Central African Republic: Government Should Stop All Extra-judicial Executions." (AI Index: AFR 19/005/2001). [Accessed 15 Aug. 2002]

BBC. 15 February 2002. "CAR Coup Attempt Trial Begins." [Accessed 20 Aug. 2002]

_____. 12 June 2001. "UN Steps Into CAR Ethnic Tension." [Accessed 20 Aug. 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. March 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 20 Aug. 2002]

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH) [Paris]. 7 February 2002. "Commission des droits de l'Homme, 58ème session 18 mars-26 avril 2002 : intervention écrite de la Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme (FIDH), une organisation non-gouvernementale dotée du statut consultatif spécial." [Accessed 21 Aug. 2002]

_____. 15 June 2001. "La République centrafricaine : la chasse aux sorcières continue!" [Accessed 21 Aug. 2002]

Ligue centrafricaine des droits de l'homme (LCDH) [Bangui]. 21 August 2002. Telephone interview with representative.

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential [London] 1999-July 2002.

Africa Research Bulletin [London] 1999-2002.

L'Autre Afrique Jan.-July 2002.

IRB Databases

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent [Paris] Jan.-Aug. 2002.


Resource Centre country file. Central African Republic.

West Africa [London] May 2001-2002.

Internet sites including:




Minorities at Risk Project.



Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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