Burkina Faso + 9 more

ACLED Regional Overview: Africa (23-29 July 2022)

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Weekly reports on the latest conflict developments in Mozambique and Ethiopia are made available by the Cabo Ligado and Ethiopia Peace Observatory* projects, respectively.*

Last week in Africa, levels of violence remained high in the Sahel region as Islamist militants continued offensives in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali; sporadic confrontations broke out in Libya between armed groups loyal to rival governments; civil unrest left many killed and injured in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Al Shabaab killed political leaders in Somalia.

In Burkina Faso, violence remained high in the Sahel region as Islamist militants confronted the military forces and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP), as well as carried out attacks on civilians. The Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) remained the most violent actor, with a particularly violent attack on a military detachment in Kelbo resulting in several casualties among soldiers and militants. In the Boucle du Mouhoun region, JNIM militants blockaded Gomboro town, killing civilians and sabotaging electricity supply lines. Around Bourasso, government forces targeted JNIM with airstrikes, contributing to the 186% increase in violence in Boucle du Mouhoun last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED's Subnational Surge Tracker. In response to the continued JNIM activity in the Center-East region, government forces conducted airstrikes against militant positions in the Boulgou province.

In Mali, violence remained high as Islamist militants continued widespread offensives. JNIM pursued coordinated attacks in the Segou, Koulikoro, and Mopti regions, which resulted in dozens of soldiers and militants fatalities. Security forces launched a crackdown against suspected supporters of armed groups and arrested scores of people in the capital of Bamako (Radio Guintan, 24 July 2022). Meanwhile, militants from the Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) attacked and killed over a dozen civilians from the Dawsahak community in the Gao and Menaka regions. In neighboring Niger, violence was highest in the Tillaberi region as Islamist militants attacked civilians and looted goods in the northern and western areas.

In Nigeria, violent events shifted towards the Federal Capital territory compared to previous weeks as armed groups kidnapped civilians and confronted the military forces in several locations of Gwagwalada, Bwari, and Kwali Local Government Areas (LGA). Suspected Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) notably ambushed a military patrol in Bwari LGA and clashed with security forces at a checkpoint near Zuma town, Gwagwalada LGA, resulting in dozens of fatalities (Sahara Reporters, 25 July 2022; Nigerian Eye, 29 July 2022). While violence in Federal Capital Territory has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of 'low risk' to being considered an area of 'growing risk' by ACLED's Volatility and Risk Predictability Index. Militia-related violence remained high in Kaduna, Katsina, and Zamfara states, with several attacks, kidnappings, and clashes.

In Libya, sporadic clashes continued between armed groups loyal to Government of National Unity (GNU) Prime Minister Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh and those loyal to Parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, demonstrations calling for an end to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) operations intensified and spread to other parts of North and South Kivu. In Goma, hundreds of demonstrators barricaded roads and ransacked MONUSCO bases with Congolese and peacekeeping forces interventions, leaving many killed and tens injured. Further demonstrations in Butembo left many killed, including UN peacekeepers (Al Jazeera, 29 July 2022). Others died in Uvira, South Kivu, after security forces dispersed a group barricading a road to Burundi and burning down parts of a MONUSCO base. Clashes also resumed between the March 23 Movement (M23) and the army in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu. Furthermore, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed more than a dozen civilians in Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

In Sudan, demonstrations calling for unity and coexistence continued, but often faced violent dispersion. In the cities of Khartoum and Omdurman, Khartoum state, security forces and an armed youth militia dispersed demonstrations organized by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), killing one demonstrator and injuring many. Meanwhile in South Sudan, the People's Movement/Army (SSPM/A) and military forces (SSPDF) clashed in Mayom county, Unity state, and Twic county, Warrap state, following the killing of the Mayom county commissioner last week. Moreover, the Pakam Manuer subsection of the Agar Dinka clashed with Pakam Lith subsection in the Lakes state as a retaliation against the previous killing of a member of the Manuer in Rumbek North county, resulting in two deaths.

In Somalia, government forces launched a series of offensives against Al Shabaab militants in the northern and southern regions, resulting in territorial gains, ammunition seizures, and the release of hostages. In Tortoroow village in Lower Shabelle, special forces killed a score of militants following a US forces airstrike in the area. In the Bakool region, Ethiopian military forces also conducted airstrikes against militants in Ceel Barde district, killing senior Al Shabaab militants. Al Shabaab also attacked Liyu police forces at a base in Ato town for the second consecutive week, killing scores of police officers. Furthermore, Al Shabaab continued to target political figures, killing a district commissioner of Marka and a Southwest minister.

Upcoming elections led to increased events in Kenya and Angola, where groups pelted stones at political candidates, and rallies turned violent. These incidents contributed to a 40% increase in violence in Kenya over the past month relative to the past year, as flagged by ACLED's Conflict Change Map. Finally, in Malawi, Anti-Presidential Immunity demonstrators barricaded roads and some looted stores, calling for the president to reduce presidential powers as promised during his political campaign, end corruption, and address the high cost of living.