ACLED Regional Overview – Africa (8 October 2019)
Islamist violence is responsible for an increasing number of reported civilian fatalities in the Sahel and Mozambique. Al Shabaab attacks in Somalia targeting foreign troops and violent demonstrations in Sudan are among other key developments during the past week in Africa.
In Mozambique, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ) — an Islamist group responsible for an insurgency in the northernmost Cabo Delgado region — initiated a number of attacks targeting civilians. The attacks occurred in several villages within the Muidumbe and Mocimboa Da Praia districts of Cabo Delgado and included the destruction of houses and the abduction of civilians. Having been active in the region since late 2017, ASWJ attacked Military Forces of Mozambique several times in Macomia in September 2019, killing over a dozen soldiers.
The lack of security in the area is likely to create more recruitment into ASWJ; on October 3, in Nampula province, Mozambican police detained 34 people suspected of being on their way to Cabo Delgado to join the insurgent groups.
Meanwhile, Al Shabaab violence continued in Eastern Africa; the group continued its attacks with explosives in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, specifically targeting AMISOM and other foreign troops in the past week. On 30 September, Al Shabaab militants bombed and attacked the US military airbase in Bali Doogle town of Lower Shabelle. The group claimed to have killed 100 soldiers; a report by AFRICOM said that US forces and the Somali military killed 10 attackers. On the same day, in Mogadishu, Italian military forces under the European Union Training Mission were targeted by another explosive planted by Al Shabaab militants. Italy’s defense ministry announced that no injuries had been reported so far.
In Mali, Jama’ah Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) stepped up its activities last week, resulting in one of the highest numbers of reported fatalities in 2019. On September 30, suspected JNIM militants attacked the military camp of the G5 Sahel Force in Boulikessi and the National Guard camp in Mondoro simultaneously. Both camps are located in the Mopti region neighboring Burkina Faso. At least 38 soldiers of Malian military forces were killed while 30 went missing. Both camps were overrun and destroyed, and large amounts of arms and ammunition were seized by JNIM. the group has been gaining power in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso also. The group claimed to have overtaken Baraboule town while the army and police forces were ambushed on several deadly attacks. One of the most significant attacks was conducted on October 4 when suspected JINM militants killed at least twenty artisanal gold miners and wounded many more at the mining site of Dolmane, near the village of Madoudji in Sahel.
In South Kordofan region of Sudan, on October 3, hundreds of people torched the facilities of various gold mining companies in Talodi locality, before attacking a Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary base, killing one RSF soldier and wounding several. Three security guards of the mining companies were reported to be killed as well, and about six demonstrators were injured. This riot came following a sit-in protest on September 16 when the residents of Talodi and Kadeer localities in South Kordofan held a vigil in Khartoum against the gold exploration companies operating, despite an order by the governor for an immediate stop to all gold mining activities in the state.