Regional Overview – Africa, 9 July 2018
Key political violence highlights from the first week of July 2018 in Africa include the cross-border incidents between Uganda and the DRC, Ethiopia and Sudan, and Burundi and Rwanda; the targeting of French officials and troops in Cameroon and Mali; and the signs of political tensions in Algeria and Ivory Coast.
There were notable episodes of cross-border violence on the week of July 1st. Activity increased at the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at Lake Edward on July 5th, as naval patrols from both countries clashed on the Lake, causing casualties. Two days later, the Ugandan army shot at eight fishermen during a patrol on the Lake, leaving another seven killed. Violence was also reported along the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Sudanese armed forces were accused of killing Ethiopian farmers at a disputed farmland in the Metema area of Amhara region on June 30th; this led to a clash with Ethiopian forces in the same area on July 3rd. On July 4th, Ethiopian gunmen were also said to have penetrated into Sudan and abducted farmers from El Lagadi in El Gedaref, Kassala state. Finally, violence by Burundian gunmen was reported in both Rwanda and the DRC. In Rwanda, suspected Burundian assailants attacked Nyaruguru District for the third time in less than two weeks, on July 1st, firing shots in the air, abducting people and looting property. In the DRC, Burundian groups like the Resistance to the Rule of Law in Burundi (Red-Tabara), the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) and the Republican Forces of Burundi (FOREBU) fought in support of various armed groups in Uvira, Sud-Kivu, reinforcing the instability that has been affecting the region since April.
Second, French officials and forces were targeted in Cameroon and Mali. In Cameroon, Ambazonian separatists allegedly attacked the convoy of the French Secretary of State directed to Buea in Fako, Sud-Ouest, on June 29th, leaving two soldiers killed and several others wounded. Fighting between the separatists and the government has escalated over the past weeks. In Mali, a Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle against a convoy of French Barkhane forces and Malian soldiers in northern Gao on July 1st. Five civilians were killed and 24 others wounded in the blast, along with eight French soldiers. Tensions remained high in Gao in the days that followed.