June 7, 2023

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In 2018, the Hague court demanded the arrest of the CAR football boss. He is suspected of war crimes

Pinyaev broke Sychev’s record (a goal for the national team at 18), Pesyakov brought terribly – this is how Russia beat Iraq

Pinyaev broke Sychev’s record (a goal for the national team at 18), Pesyakov brought terribly – this is how Russia beat Iraq

Ngaissona is accused of killing journalists and children.

Sometimes football is intertwined with those areas of life where it is expected last. It brings such amazing people into the game that in one sentence you can read about FIFA and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 


A series of civil wars in the Central African Republic has been going on for 20 years. During this time, insurgent detachments, groups and even armies arose and disappeared in the country. One of the largest formations was created by the now former head of the CAR Football Federation, who was detained by decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 

Let’s talk in more detail. 

Christians and Muslims live in the CAR. Two warring factions appeared precisely on the basis of religion  

The Central African Republic suffers from the same problems as most of its neighbors on the continent. The state declared independence from France in 1960 and almost immediately fell under harsh authoritarian rule. In 1965, the first president of the country was overthrown by the military, and Colonel Jean Bedel Bokassa came to power.

He became famous for cannibalism and the proclamation of the Central African Empire. Under him, the country was mired in corruption, faced serious economic problems, and as a result, Bokassa also became a victim of a coup. So power passed from the hands of politicians to the military and back several times, until in 2003 the Central African Republic was headed by Francois Bozize. He also overthrew his predecessor, and at the same time rehabilitated the rule of Bokassa, calling the period of the “empire” almost a golden age for the country.

But Bozize also had enough opponents. In 2004, the Civil War began, which lasted three years. As a result, several rebel groups agreed with the government on a ceasefire, but most of the militants did not lay down their arms.

The republic has rich deposits of diamonds, gas and other minerals, so control over them is one of the motives in the struggle for power. But there are additional contradictions – on religious grounds. The Central African Republic is located at the junction of the Muslim and Christian parts of Africa. Most of the locals are Protestants, but about 20% are Muslims. Both have armed groups. Some are fed by neighbors from the south, others from the north.

Areas with the largest share of the Muslim population are located in the north of the CAR

The second civil war in the 21st century in the Central African Republic largely reflected this split. In 2013, Bozize was overthrown by the Muslim group Selek, and the Anti-Balaka movement (which has existed since the 1990s) did not accept this. Its participants called themselves allies of the deposed President Bozize and the Christian Self-Defense Forces. But in fact, they gained a reputation as war criminals, famous for terror, murders and pogroms, and faith in Jesus Christ was mixed with pagan and shamanic rituals. Several massacres are known. For example, in January 2014, more than a hundred Muslims were killed in a massacre in Bossempertel, a small town in the west of the country. Many of them tried to take refuge in the Catholic Church.

Anti-Balaki militants were also accused of the death of French photojournalist Camille Lepage, who tried to draw attention to the civil war in the Central African Republic. There is also evidence of cannibalism, as well as ritual killings, including of children.

Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona himself admitted that he created Antibalaka. Previously, he worked in the government and managed local football for ten years.

The Anti-Balaka movement is heterogeneous and consists of many independent groups. Because of this, it is not always obvious who is at the head of the rebels. One of the leaders is called Patrice-Edouard Ngaisson, nicknamed Rambo. In the Central African Republic, he had a construction business, but back in 2000 the authorities doubted its legality. Then the entrepreneur was accused of money laundering and even arrested. Soon, Patrice-Edouard was released, and a few years later, when Francois Bozize became president, he even ended up in the leadership of the Central African Republic. In 2013, Ngaisson was appointed Minister of Sports and Youth Policy. True, two months later the head of state was overthrown, and the post had to be left.