Burkina Faso + 8 more

ACLED Regional Overview: Africa (30 July - 5 August 2022)

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Last week in Africa, armed groups targeted civilians on the Niger border with Nigeria; Islamist militants continued offensives in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali; an ambush by an armed group from Chad left many killed in Sudan; and the March 23 Movement gained further territorial control in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Burkina Faso, violence remained high in the East and Center-North regions due to armed confrontations between Islamist militants and the military forces or Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP). The Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) remained the most violent actor following infighting amongst militants and particularly violent attacks against three military and VDP positions in the Bourzanga department, Center-North region. In response to the continued Islamist militants’ offensive, the military forces conducted several airstrikes targeting JNIM in the Kompienga province of the East region. One misguided airstrike killed dozens of women and children in the Pognoa-Sankoado village (Twitter, 1 August 2022).

In Mali, JNIM militants intensified offensives leading to the highest levels of violence in the Mopti region compared to the other areas. JNIM militants attacked several villages inhabited by ethnic Dogon people in the Bankass circle and set fire to a convoy of commercial trailers on the road between Douentza and Gao. The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) conducted operations against Islamist militants, with military reports citing over a dozen militant fatalities in the Mopti and Segou regions (FAMa, 4 August 2022). These trends contributed to the 140% increase in violence in Segou last week relative to the past month flagged by* ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker*. In neighboring Niger, armed groups increasingly targeted civilians in the Maradi and Tahoua regions bordering Nigeria compared to the previous weeks, with violence more than doubling last week in Tahoua relative to the past month (ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker).

In Nigeria, levels of violence were highest in Borno state as militants of Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked civilians and clashed with military forces, Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), and local self-defense militias. In nearby Yobe state, military forces killed several militants throughairstrikes in Gujba Local Government Area (LGA) under the anti-Islamist operation Hadin Kai. Elsewhere, militias who left Katsina and Zamfara states established positions in Maiha LGA of Adamawa state, resulting in the displacement of the local population (2 August 2022, Sahara Reporters). Despite this movement to Adamawa, militia-related violence remained high in Kaduna and Katsina states, with continued attacks, kidnappings, and clashes.

In Sudan, an ambush by an armed group from Chad, who returned after looting camels the previous day, killed several people near the Sudan-Chadian border in Sirba locality, West Darfur (Darfur24, 5 August 2022). Violence in West Darfur has been volatile though not common, resulting in the state being considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index. In neighboring South Sudan, government authorities and opposition groups signatories of the 2018 peace agreement announced the extension of the transitional power-sharing government by two years (Eye Radio, 4 August 2022).

In Somalia, Al Shabaab militants increased offensives against the government and allied forces, with the highest number of clashes in the Lower Shabelle region. Clashes with Al Shabaab left several soldiers killed, yet government forces took back control of several villages in Wanla Weyn district. In Hiraan, security forces supported by a Macawiisley militia killed scores of Al Shabaab militants in Bulo Burto district. Further, the Ethiopian military continued to carry out aerial strikes against militants in Gedo, Bakool, and Hiraan. The airstrikes killed scores and contributed to the 186% increase in violence in Gedo last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The Subnational Tracker first warned of increased violence to come in Gedo in the past month.

In Kenya, a suspected Pokot militia attacked civilians in Turkana county, burning at least seven civilians and abducting a minor in Napeitom. Also in Mandera, Al Shabaab militant activities increased after an attack at a police camp, leaving many officers injured. For the national elections held this week, the government established a multi-agency command center in the Rift Valley region to respond to security issues that may increase during the election period (The Star, 4 August 2022).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, clashes between March 23 Movement (M23) and military forces (FARDC) spiked after weeks of reduced activity in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu. The M23 gained control of villages in the Bwisha chiefdom, forcing populations to flee. In South Kivu, clashes increased in the Mwenga and Uvira territories between armed Imbonerakure from Burundi against the Resistance to the Rule of Law in Burundi (RED-TABARA), leaving many dead and wounded. Imbonerakure also attacked civilians in Mwenga in the first recorded attack against civilians perpetrated by the group since April. Tensions around the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) remained high after a MONUSCO contingent returning from leave in Uganda fired at civilians at the Kasindi border post, killing two and leaving more than a dozen injured (VOA, 1 August 2022). Demonstrators continued to call for the UN mission to cease operations.