Burkina Faso + 6 more

ACLED Regional Overview – Africa (1-7 May 2021)

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In Africa last week, Islamist militants launched large-scale attacks in the Central Sahel and Lake Chad Basin; state forces continued to gain territory from rebel groups in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and intercommunal violence broke out in Somalia and South Sudan.

In Niger, suspected Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) Greater Sahara faction militants launched multiple attacks on state forces in the Tahoua and Tillaberi regions. Dozens of fatalities were reported during attacks on a Nigerien army position in the village of Intoussan in Tillaberi, and a national guard patrol between Eknewane and Intazeyene in Tahoua.

In Burkina Faso, presumed Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) militants launched an attack on Kodyel village in Komandjari province, near the border with Niger. The attack left at least 30 people dead, the majority of whom were civilians. Meanwhile, Burkinabe military forces launched large-scale military operations targeting suspected Katiba Macina positions in the North region, including airstrikes and artillery attacks. Across the border in Mali, presumed Katiba Macina fighters continued attacks on civilian targets in the Mopti region. Attacks on ranger stations were also reported in the regions of Kayes and Koulikoro.

In Nigeria, the Lake Chad faction of ISWAP launched two days of attacks on the town of Ajiri in the Mafa local government area of Borno state, resulting in at least 40 fatalities. Militants clashed with military and Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) stationed in the town. Further deadly clashes between ISWAP militants and state forces were reported in the Kala Balge, Gubio, and Damboa local government areas. Elsewhere, fighting continued between the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and state forces in the southeast states, and intercommunal violence left more than a dozen civilians dead in the Gwer West local government area of Benue state.

In the Central African Republic, military forces supported by United Nations peacekeepers (MINUSCA) and the Wagner Group continued to regain control over towns in Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Nana-Mambere prefectures. Despite their advancements, the Return, Reclamation, and Rehabilitation (3R) rebel group took control of Berra in the Abba sub-prefecture of Nana-Mambere.

Following the earlier declaration of a ‘state of siege’ in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in Democratic Republic of Congo, President Félix Tshisekedi launched a military and police takeover of civilian institutions in the provinces (France24, 4 May 2021). During operations in Ituri, military forces (FARDC) regained territory previously controlled by the Patriotic Force and Integrationist of Congo (FPIC)/Patriotic Resistance Front of Ituri (FRPI), and the Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO). In Djugu territory, the FARDC captured CODECO-held territory in the Walendu Pitsi sector. In Irumu territory, the FARDC took back territory controlled by FPIC/FRPI in the localities of Nyankunde, Kalingi, Malubata and Malumbabo. Meanwhile, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants continued to launch attacks on civilians in both North Kivu and Ituri.

In South Sudan, large-scale intercommunal violence resumed in Pibor county of Jonglei state. The fighting, centered on the areas of Gumuruk and Kongor, has left thousands of civilians displaced. Whilst fighting had abated in Pibor county in recent months, significant intercommunal violence had previously broken out last year between local Murle inhabitants, and Bor Dinka, as well as Lou and Gawaar Nuer clans from elsewhere in Jonglei. Elsewhere, multiple fatalities were reported during a cattle raid by Bul Nuer militias in Warrap state. In the neighbouring county of Mayom in Unity state, fighting was also reported between Bul Nuer youth and security forces.

In Somalia, clan-related violence was reported in the Hiraan, Galgaduud, and Mudug regions. Land disputes within the Habar Gedir clan prompted an exchange of gunfire between intra-clan militias in the towns of Dhuusamarreeb and Hobyo, in the regions of Mudug and Galgaduud, respectively. In Hiraan, at least six people were killed during clashes between armed members of the Jejele and Makane clans. Meanwhile, Al Shabaab militants continued extensive operations targeting government security forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, with clashes reported in the Bakool, Bay, Gedo, Hiraan, Lower Juba, and Lower Shabelle regions.

A separate, weekly discussion of the ongoing conflict in Mozambique can be found in the Cabo Ligado project.