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ACLED Regional Overview - Africa (7 - 13 May 2022)

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*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, violent events were highest in the Democratic Republic of Congo following deadly attacks on miners in Ituri province; Islamist violence with JNIM spilled over into Togo for the first time; Burkinabe forces conducted airstrikes against JNIM and ISWAP in Burkina Faso; and security forces killed an Al Shabaab head of operations in Somalia.

In Togo, presumed Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) militants killed several Togolese soldiers during a double-attack at the border village of Kpenkankandi, Kpendjal Prefecture. Violence carried out by JNIM was the first deadly attack by Islamist militants in the country. In response, the Burkinabe air force conducted airstrikes against presumed JNIM militant positions along the East and Center-East border regions. Elsewhere in Burkina Faso, military forces carried out further airstrikes against JNIM positions in the Sahel and Center-East regions. This contributed to the 167% increase in violence in Centre-East last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Violent events were highest in the Sahel and East regions with the continued activity of JNIM and the Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel). Fighting between IS Sahel militants against military forces and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) concentrated in the Ouadalan province of the Sahel region, resulting in numerous fatalities.

In Mali, violence remained concentrated in the Mopti region after JNIM militants carried out two simultaneous rocket and mortar attacks on Malian army positions in the towns of Tenenkou and Diondiori, Tenenkou circle, resulting in several civilian casualties. JNIM additionally conducted an ambush and an IED attack across two days against Malian government troops who launched a counter-offensive in the Djenne circle, leaving several casualties among soldiers. Wagner Group mercenaries also abducted civilians from Hombori town, Douentza circle.

In Niger, JNIM violence in the Tillaberi region included an attack on the village of Bolsi, which resulted in several civilian fatalities, including the local chief. Also in Tillaberi, the first IED attack in Sakoira commune was recorded by ACLED, killing two civilians when their cart hit an explosive device planted by presumed IS Sahel militants.

In Nigeria, reported events decreased to the lowest number since July of 2021, including a drop in reported violence in the northwestern states. In particular, violence in Niger and Zamfara states is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Predictability Index. Despite lower event numbers, the upcoming 2023 general election primaries coincided with an attack by unidentified gunmen on the convoy of an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant for the Ondo state House of Assembly after submitting her nomination at the APC Secretariat in Akure (Premium Times, 12 May 2022). Militants of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) Lake Chad faction also killed one Boko Haram (JAS) commander in the Madagali region of Adamawa state after he attempted to surrender to the Nigerian military (All Africa, 12 May 2022). In Sokoto state, militants killed civilians in retaliation for the death of a militia leader by a self-defense group in Goronyo LGA.

In Sudan, violence against IDPs in North and South Darfur left several fatalities. Nationwide demonstrations continued, now persisting for seven months, calling for a civilian government. Security forces responded with violence, leaving many injured in Khartoum and Port Sudan. In South Sudan, gunmen attacked Bor Dinka pastoralists near Nimule town in Eastern Equatoria, resulting in scores of fatalities and thousands of cattle stolen. Bor Dinka pastoralists retaliated by looting shops and houses and killing two police officers. In Gogrial East county in Warrap state, fighting between local and Bul Nuer youth militias resulted in over a score of fatalities. In the disputed Abyei area, clashes resumed between Twic Dinka and Ngok Dinka clans.

In Kenya, police clashed with a militia in the Kainuk forest of Turkana county and recovered hundreds of stolen livestock in West Pokot county. In Somalia, the police commander of the Banadir region survived an IED attack near Ceelasha Biyaha of Lower Shabelle. In Galgaduud, security forces killed Al Shabaab’s head of operations for Cada Kibir, Warshubo, and Qaayib. Also in Galgaduudd, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa militants clashed with government forces, resulting in several people killed and many displaced. Finally, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as president from 2012 to 2017, was re-elected as the president of Somalia following a 15-month delay in elections (BBC, 16 May 2022).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence continued within Ituri and North Kivu provinces, where a ‘state of siege’ was declared more than a year ago in an attempt to end insecurity (Amnesty International, 10 May 2022). In Ituri province, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militants attacked a mining site in Djugu territory, killing scores of people. Nearby at an IDP camp in Loda, more than a dozen refugees were killed during a clash between FARDC and a CODECO faction group called the Union of Revolutionaries for the Defense of the Congolese People (URDPC). In Irumu and Mambasa, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacks left many civilians killed. Violence throughout Ituri province led thousands to flee to North Kivu province, where FARDC troops made some territorial gains against Mayi Mayi and ADF militants within Beni and Masisi. Several groups entered a non-aggression pact in Walikale, including the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS), the Guidon Mwissa faction of the Nduma Defence of Congo (NDC-R), Nyatura group factions allied to Sanctus Domi, and Jean Marie Nyamuganya (Radio Okapi, 11 May 2022). In Fizi and Mwenga territories of South Kivu province, a coalition of Ngumino, Mayi Mayi Android, and Twirwaneho militants clashed with Mayi Mayi Biloze Bishambuke, contributing to a 203% increase in violence in South Kivu over the past week relative to the past month (ACLED Subnational Surge Tracker).