Press Release / / 11.13.18

“Fear, Inc.” New Investigative Report Exposes Billion Dollar Business Built on Atrocities and War in the Central African Republic

Washington, D.C. – In its newest report released today, The Sentry details the violent ascent of a war profiteer in the Central African Republic (CAR), and the role he and other criminal entrepreneurs, both foreign and domestic, have played in driving a country into a morass of war, poverty, and pervasive terror.

The report, “Fear, Inc.: War Profiteering in the Central African Republic and the Bloody Rise of Abdoulaye Hissène,” by Nathalia Dukhan, pulls the lid off a chaotic war zone, exposing the underlying corrupt systems and perverse incentives that have splintered the resource-rich nation into competing fiefdoms of armed gangs and politico-military groups.

Nathalia Dukhan, report author and Central African Republic Researcher and Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “Mass violence is a billion-dollar business in the Central African Republic. Unscrupulous political and economic actors, including foreigners, fuel and perpetuate warfare for personal gain. By capturing the country’s rich resources with the complicity of perpetrators of mass atrocities like Abdoulaye Hissène, these networks have sunk the people of the Central African Republic into a terrifying realm of deep injustice, crushing poverty, and overwhelming fear.”

The Sentry’s investigation reveals that Abdoulaye Hissène, a notorious warlord and one-time minister, has amassed a fortune out of devastating sectarian violence, continuing to profit despite being subject to U.S and U.N. sanctions. Inciting hatred and divisions between ethnic and religious communities, Hissène has become a central player in the country’s conflict, a rise to power made possible by strong ties with national and regional heads of state and foreign business partners. Hissène’s rise also illustrates a violent system endemic in CAR, and similar to other countries in east and central Africa, that incentivizes conflict over peace.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “In the Central African Republic today and in the surrounding region, war is far more lucrative than peace. The perpetrators of mass atrocities have been elevated as legitimate political leaders. Profiteers and crime bosses with no incentive to end conflict have taken a seat at the table in peace processes thus doomed to fail. The international community has the responsibility to disrupt the greed-fueled networks connected to the spreading chaos and violence, as well as the tools to do so. To hesitate any longer would make these crimes our own.”

Since 2013, the conflict in CAR has repeatedly made international headlines, as alarms have sounded over escalating violence and warnings of genocide. Ethnic purges and other mass atrocities continue to take place on a near-daily basis against entire communities.

A great, but unknown, number of civilians have died in the conflict, and the instability has led to a major humanitarian crisis. In May 2018, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees announced that 1.27 million people have been internally displaced or forced to flee the country, the highest level never recorded in CAR’s history.

Selected report recommendations: The Sentry report includes recommendations intended to provide policymakers with strategies to end the incentives for violence, and ultimately encourage accountability and leverage to pave the way for a lasting peace.

Detailed recommendations variously addressed to the U.N. Security Council, European Union (EU), African Union (AU), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), France, the United States, China, Russia, Central African regional head of states, the CAR government, international banks, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Criminal Court (SCC) include policy actions into two main areas:

Rethinking the peace process:

  • Stop the legitimization of war criminals as political interlocutors.
  • Pre-condition participation in any peace efforts on agreement to a cease-fire and commitment to building peace.
  • Ensure the active participation of marginalized communities and victims of the conflict, and, build around the achievements and the exemplary model of inclusion made during the Bangui Forum in 2015.

Promoting greater accountability, human rights and governance:

  • Categorically deny amnesty for perpetrators of mass atrocities, spoilers of peace and war profiteers.
  • Implement strong financial and judicial tools to create effective consequences on spoilers of peace and war profiteers:

     Sanctions and AML measures:

  • Enforce existing sanctions on named individuals and entities, including Hissène, by deploying strong diplomatic efforts and resources for competent authorities.
  • Impose additional sanctions that target the business networks of key spoilers and entities or individuals that support CAR’s looting and mass violence.
  • Employ anti-money laundering measures, that highlight the significant money laundering risks emanating from the endemic corruption, the trafficking in gold and diamonds, and other issues related to war profiteering.

   Criminal accountability:

  • Prioritize financial investigations, particularly related to the ill-gotten gains of high-level perpetrators of atrocities and their commercial partners and ensure that economic and financial crimes are part of charges against perpetrators of atrocities and their corporate partners.
  • Prioritize victims’ reparation and take steps to redirect seized funding towards peace and reconstruction.

“Fear, Inc.” follows on a report last week by The Sentry, an initiative of the Enough Project, “Splintered Warfare II,” also authored by Nathalia Dukhan, which maps the complex array of armed factions and other national and foreign war profiteering groups and networks in CAR.

Read the full report from The Sentry, “Fear, Inc.”: https://eno.ug/2AXfq1y

Read the Enough Project’s mapping report “Splintered Warfare II”: https://eno.ug/2PJnZ8G

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE SENTRY

The Sentry is composed of financial forensic investigators, policy analysts, and regional experts who follow the dirty money and build investigative cases focusing on the corrupt transnational networks most responsible for Africa’s deadliest conflicts. By creating a significant financial cost to these kleptocrats through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, and other tools, The Sentry aims to disrupt the profit incentives for mass atrocities and oppression, and creates new leverage in support of peace efforts and African frontline human rights defenders. The Sentry’s partner, the Enough Project, undertakes high-level advocacy with policy-makers around the world as well as wide-reaching education campaigns by mobilizing students, faith-based groups, celebrities, and others. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of Not On Our Watch (NOOW) and the Enough Project. The Sentry currently focuses its work in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.

In less than two years, The Sentry has created hard-hitting reports and converted extensive research into a large volume of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. The investigative team has turned those dossiers over to government regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world, as well as to compliance officers at the world’s largest banks.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.