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Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent

Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

This is the home of my reports, updates and analysis from across the world’s liveliest continent

CAR crisis: Meeting the rebel army chief

29 July 2014
Seleka fighters in Bambari, CAR - May 2014

On a dirt side-street between the deserted petrol station and the hospital in Bambari in the Central African Republic, five well-armed soldiers were standing guard outside the tall gates of what must once have been a rather grand colonial villa.

A few minutes earlier, I had received a rather brusque phone call from a man called Major General Joseph Zoundeiko, who wanted me to come and see him immediately.

Gen Zoundeiko is the army chief of staff of what his headed notepaper describes as the "Forces Republicains" of the Central African Republic.

Seleka's Major General Joseph Zoundeiko
Maj Gen Joseph Zoundeiko wants CAR to split in two

To you and me, he is a rebel leader - part of the loose alliance of mostly Muslim forces known as Seleka which ousted CAR's president last year and held power until January.

Trying to understand the political power dynamics here is not easy.

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Central African Republic crisis: Silent majority held hostage

28 July 2014
A car on a road to Bambari in CAR - May 2014

Travelling into the countryside of the Central African Republic around Bambari is an unpredictable business at the best of times. Two punctures on the rutted dirt track delayed our first attempt.

We limped back to a tyre-repair shop in the town's dilapidated Muslim quarter, close to the spot where a suspected Christian fighter had been hacked to death by a mob.

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Central African Republic: Where rumours can kill in seconds

26 July 2014
French Sangaris troops patrol in an armoured personnel carrier (APC) as a schoolboy passes by, in Bangui, the Central African capital, on 13 July 2014.

The French soldier nearly tripped over the old man.

"I thought he was dead," he said, moments later, bending down to examine the skeleton-thin body lying naked in the dark debris of what the French patrol had assumed was an abandoned building on the outskirts of Bambari.

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Central African Republic: Fighting spreads like infection

25 July 2014
A boy being treated at the University Hospital in Bambari, CAR

Francoise Gerizapa scrunched her face into a fierce pout and then screamed once more - a chilling, sing-song whoop that filled the dark, crowded ward at Bambari's hospital in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Two nurses were holding Ms Gerizapa's shoulders as a third poured disinfectant into a large, rotting, bullet wound in the 43-year-old's lower leg.

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Central African Republic's road to anarchy

24 July 2014
Men on a vehicle approaching an anti-balaka militia checkpoint on 2 March 2014 in Bangui
People fleeing the conflict approach a checkpoint run by anti-Balaka militiamen

On a map, the RN (Route Nationale) 2 looks like a rather important highway linking the central town of Sibut with the entire eastern half of the Central African Republic (CAR) and beyond.

If you want to drive from the capital, Bangui, towards South Sudan, Uganda and the Indian Ocean, then the RN2 is your only option - a vital artery for commerce and migration that runs through valleys and forests, past gold and diamond mines and dozens of major towns as it forges eastwards just north of the equator and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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How did Oscar Pistorius' defence fare?

8 July 2014
Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the Pretoria High Court - 8 July 2014, Pretoria, South Africa.

Judge Thokozile Masipa stood up, bowed and walked stiffly out of courtroom GD; minutes later South African athlete Oscar Pistorius slipped away too, followed by his legal team.

No-one appeared to be smiling.

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Oscar Pistorius: A glimpse of what might have been

1 July 2014
Oscar Pistorius on trial in Pretoria, South Africa, 1 July
Oscar Pistorius in court on Tuesday

Trials are, necessarily, about past events. And yet in court today, we were treated to a tantalising glimpse of the future Oscar Pistorius might once have had.

It wafted through the courtroom like a patch of unexpected sunlight, before prosecutor Gerrie Nel - true to form - marched over and yanked down the blinds.

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Kenya's wrestle with insecurity

26 June 2014
A security guard walks past empty sun loungers facing the Indian Ocean at a holiday resort in the town of Diani, south of Mombasa, on the coast of Kenya Thursday 22 May 2014

It was a reasonably thorough body search. "How did I do?" said the Kenyan security guard afterwards, fishing, unexpectedly, for a compliment.

"Was it properly done? If so, please tell your country it is safe to come here…"

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Peter Greste represents all journalists

23 June 2014
Journalists protesting in Nairobi, Kenya, in February about the case of the al-Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt

I first ran into journalist Peter Greste in a sandstorm in northern Afghanistan in 2001.

We were both staying in the same crowded, shabby house, trying to make sense of the fighting nearby, and clinging on to a few home-comforts - something at which Peter, with his roll-ups, his music and his well-honed ability to put the stresses of the job to one side over a few beers, excelled.

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About Andrew

Andrew has been Africa correspondent since 2009, covering the continent's highs and lows - from the World Cup, Africa's economic boom, and the literary treasures of Timbuktu, to the pirates of Somalia, the conflict in Ivory Coast, and the struggles of Zimbabwe.

He has spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent, based in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia, and reported on the 1993 parliamentary rebellion in Moscow, two Chechen wars, the Asian tsunami in 2004, and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Sudan, Liberia and beyond.

Andrew was born in the UK, grew up in Belgium and at boarding school. He is married with three children.

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