During the last week, Cameroon and Mali experienced increased violence, while the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) expanded their operational range in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, both Ambazonian separatists and state forces engaged in more activity in the lead-up to national elections. Meanwhile, Mali continued to face ongoing militant violence in the Sahel region, amid worsening ethnic tensions.
Despite continuing violations of the ceasefire in Libya, violence remained at lower levels. Indiscriminate shelling, resulted in civilian casualties, as Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) forces regularly traded airstrikes and heavy artillery. On Monday, the Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission – including high level members of both the GNA and LNA – convened for that first round of UN-brokered in Geneva. The talks aim to convert a faltering truce into a “permanent and lasting ceasefire” (UN, 4 February 2020).
In Cameroon, violence rose in the lead-up to 9 February national elections. Ambazonian separatists and state forces clashed across the Anglophone regions, with encounters reported in Mezam and Ngo-ketunjia departments in the Northwest, and Fako, Kupe-Manenguba, Meme and Ndian in the Southwest. The clashes came as Ambazonian separatists continued a campaign to disrupt voting. In separate attacks in the Northwest, separatists tortured Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) officials and abducted a village chief following his participation in a CPDM campaign event. They also burnt down an Election Cameroon (ELECAM) in the Southwest’s Kupe-Manenguba department. Military forces killed at least a dozen civilians as they continued raids on villages in the Anglophone regions, also detaining hundreds of youths.
In Cameroon’s Far-North, Boko Haram militants carried out several attacks on civilians. One such raid on the village of Mozogo resulted in two civilian deaths and the burning of approximately 40 houses, before state forces intervened. In Nigeria’s Borno state, state forces launched multiple airstrikes on Boko Haram positions in the Dikwa area, resulting in an unknown number of fatalities. Meanwhile, in further evidence of ongoing enmity between rival Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) and Shekau-Boko Haram factions, ISWAP militants reportedly killed six people accused of providing supplies to the Shekau-faction in Gogone village in Niger’s Diffa region.
In Mali, Fulani and Dogon ethnic militias engaged in tit-for-tat attacks on opposing civilian targets across the Mopti region, amid a surge in intercommunal violence in the region. Large numbers of suspected Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) militants were also reportedly killed in the Mopti region during an attack on a military camp in Dinangourou. Further militant losses were reported in the Gao region, where French forces from Operation Barkhane launched multiple airstrikes on presumed JNIM or Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) targets, possibly killing 30 militants.
The violence was mirrored across the border in Burkina Faso, where Dozo and Koglweogo militias killed 25 Fulani civilians in separate attacks in the Boucle du Mouhoun and Centre-North regions. Dozens of fatalities were also recorded when suspected ISGS/JNIM militants clashed with local militias in the Sahel and Boucle du Mouhoun regions.
In Mozambique, militants from the Cabo Delgado insurgency targeted civilian populations in Quissanga district. Seven civilians were reportedly killed during attacks on five villages in the district. The violence in Quissanga followed further attacks in Muidumbe district, which left one civilian dead.
Finally, the ADF shifted attacks on civilian targets from their normal range in North Kivu to the neighbouring province of Ituri in the DRC’s northeast corner. ADF militants killed dozens of civilians during several raids on villages in the Mambasa territory. At least another 20 civilians were abducted.