Burkina Faso + 8 more

ACLED Regional Overview: Africa (6 - 12 August 2022)


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, Islamist militants continued offensives in Burkina Faso and Mali; the Islamic State took control of areas in Egypt; Al Shabaab attacks displaced many in Somalia; the Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) increased attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and political disorder remained high in Kenya after William Ruto was announced president.

In Burkina Faso, violence remained high in the East and Center-North regions as Islamist militants engaged in armed confrontations with military forces and 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, with a notable deadly detonation of explosives against military forces in the Bourzanga department, Center-North region, and the Yagha province of the Sahel region. In response, the military conducted widespread airstrikes targeting JNIM across five regions. Military forces also killed at least 40 civilians from the Fulani community in the Namentenga province, Center-North region. Elsewhere, JNIM clashes with the VDP in the Yatenga province of the North region caused over a dozen fatalities and contributed to the 140% increase in violent events in the North region last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED's Subnational Surge Tracker

In Mali, the Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) intensified offensives, leading to the highest levels of violence in the Gao and Menaka regions. IS Sahel militants clashed with Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), Wagner Group mercenaries, and UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA), along with carrying out deadly attacks on ethnic Tuareg and Dawsahak civilians. Notably, IS Sahel militants attacked the FAMa in Tessit, killing scores of soldiers, civilians, and militants. These trends contribute to a 119% increase in weekly violent events in the Menaka region in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED's Subnational Surge Tracker.

In Nigeria, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) concentrated its offensive in Borno state, resulting in high levels of violence. ISWAP battled with Boko Haram (JAS) in the Gubio Local Government Area (LGA) over supremacy in the area. Violence continued to increase in the Federal Capital Territory, as militias from Niger state attacked civilians and clashed with self-defense groups in the Abaji LGA. These trends contribute to the 200% increase in violent events in the Federal Capital Territory last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED's Subnational Surge Tracker. In Kaduna state, military forces conducted a campaign of intensive airstrikes against militia positions, resulting in dozens of fatalities.

Disorder increased in Sierra Leone as civil society organizations and opposition political parties embarked on nationwide sit-in strikes against rising inflation and the fuel crisis. Demonstrators also demanded the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio due to his government's failure to confront these economic challenges. The demonstrations turned violent and left over a dozen killed in many parts of the country.

In Egypt, the Islamic State moved toward the Suez Canal after enduring significant losses in the North Sinai governorate. The group besieged parts of Qantarah town, Ismailia, and took over areas near the Suez Canal in North Sinai. The Egyptian military launched an unsuccessful counterattack against the Islamic State to regain territorial control.

In South Sudan, violence peaked in Eastern Equatoria state as an unidentified armed group described as cattle raiders from Greater Kidepo attacked civilians in Ikoto and Losite counties. Elsewhere in Unity state, government soldiers executed four People's Movement/Army (SSPM/A) commanders accused of planning the attack that killed the county commissioner of Mayom in July (Eye Radio, 9 August 2022).

In Somalia, Al Shabaab attacks on civilians increased, with notable violence destroying houses belonging to the Hawadle clan, displacing many people, and targeting government officials in Hiraan. In Mogadishu, Al Shabaab fired mortar shells toward the presidential palace during a parliamentary session, while two suicide vehicle-borne IED attacks in Lower and Middle Shabelle left many dead. Meanwhile, security forces and supporting forces increased offensives against Al Shabaab in Hiraan, killing over a dozen. In addition, the joint United States and Ethiopian military operations alongside Somali forces conducted increased airstrikes in the Belet Weyne district of Hiraan, which contributed to the 238% increase in violent events in Hiraan last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED's Subnational Surge Tracker.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence perpetrated by CODECO increased last week following decreased reporting of violence perpetrated by the group compared to the previous month. CODECO militants clashed with military forces (FARDC) and the Ituri Self-Defense Popular Front (FPAC-Zaire) in several locations in the Ituri province, leading to scores killed. In North Kivu, March 23 Movement (M23) activity decreased despite suspected forced recruitment in the Goma territory. In Beni and Oicha territories, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacks on civilians increased and resulted in numerous fatalities.

In Kenya, William Ruto was declared the winner of the presidential elections amid a doubling of election-related disorder. In several counties, police intervened in skirmishes among opposition supporters accusing each other of electoral fraud. A parliamentary candidate shot and killed an aide to his rival candidate at a polling station in Bungoma county. Demonstrators also gathered in several parts of the country, calling for peaceful elections (for more, see Kenya's Political Violence Landscape in the Lead-Up to the 2022 Elections).