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Registering refugees from CAR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Alexis Huguet/AFP via Getty

The Central African Republic is facing severe food shortages after a rebel group took control of the highway from Cameroon over which flows nearly the entire food supply to the capital, Bangui.

The state of play: The rebels support former President François Bozizé, who was ousted in a coup in 2013 and barred from running in the Dec. 27 presidential elections because he faced charges for murder and other crimes.

  • By the time that election was won by the incumbent, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the rebels had already launched their campaign to oust him.
  • They’ve now taken control of several cities and attempted to take Bangui, which is defended by a combination of UN peacekeepers, reinforcements from Rwanda and Russian mercenaries.
  • The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, 84,000 of them to neighboring countries.

On the ground: “Basic goods like fruit, vegetables, oil and sugar are getting harder to find, and prices are rising. Another month of this and the city will actually run out of food,” Moussa Abdoulaye writes for the Continent from Bangui.

  • “It is hard to predict what will happen next. The government does not have the firepower to win this war militarily. It will have to negotiate. And the rebels have made their position clear: they want to scrap the results of the election, be part of a transitional government, initiate a national dialogue and create a new constitution leading to new elections.”

The big picture: The Central African Republic is one of the world's poorest countries, and the government's authority barely stretches beyond the capital city. Hopes of greater stability after a 2019 deal between the government and rebel groups have now been dashed.

  • “Central African Republic has been on life support for a very long time, so it’s very easy, sadly, to push it into such a dire state where its ability to feed its people is under threat,” says Judd Devermont, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.