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Conflict trends (no.1): real-time analysis of African political violence, April 2012

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This conflict trend report from ACLED is the first of our monthly reports that focus on regional conflict trends within Africa. We concentrate our analysis on recent political violence emanating from the Sahel belt and East Africa, due to the rise in instability there. Focus countries include Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia. A brief summary of conflict activity elsewhere on the continent is provided for Burundi, DR-Congo and Niger. Real-time data on select Sahelian and Central African cases is available for review, and will be expanded to the entire continent.

In addition to a focus on conflict events of the last three months, baseline analysis highlights the conflict patterns across several countries of interest over a longer period. We compare present conflict outbreaks with the recent past, highlight new conflict actors and locations within states, and suggest explanations for the conflict processes.

Analysis is carried out on levels of violence, fatality rates, actors involved and locations of conflict. These factors combine to create distinct conflict profiles. For example, analysis suggests that Somalia and Nigeria have experienced the highest number of conflict events in recent months, while Sudan and South Sudan have experienced relatively low event levels during this time period. However, the lower overall number of violent events in Sudan and South Sudan have proved extremely fatal. In February 2012, violent events concentrated in border areas of the two states had an average fatality level of 408 people per event. This contrasts with 3.4 fatalities per event in Nigeria, where violent event levels have been higher, but generally less fatal.