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ACLED Regional Overview - Africa (18-24 June 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, an airstrike in Burkina Faso struck an artisanal mining site leaving numerous civilian fatalities; militia-related violence increased in Kaduna state of Nigeria; Sudan accused Ethiopian military forces of killing Sudanese soldiers; and the March 23 Movement increased offensives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Burkina Faso, levels of violence remained high in the Sahel, East, and Center-North regions with a continued activity of Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) and Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) militants. JNIM was the most active actor across these three regions, where it engaged in an armed clash with military forces, attacked and kidnapped civilians, and looted properties. IS Sahel militants clashed with the military forces and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) in the Oudalan province of the Sahel region. In response to Islamist militants' offensives, the military forces conducted several airstrikes against JNIM in Komandjari and Gourma provinces of the East region, and military forces also engaged IS Sahel on the ground in the Seno province of the Sahel region, resulting in dozens of militant fatalities. In the Bam province of the Center-North region, a military airstrike targeted the Somlamisguima artisanal mining site near Biliga locality, leaving more than a dozen killed among the miners (Infowakat, 20 June 2022).

In Mali, levels of violence remained high in the Mopti region, where JNIM militants carried out mass atrocities in the Bankass circle, killing over a hundred civilians (Studio Tamani, 20 June 2022). In response, the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) claimed that several dozen militants died following military air strikes in the Mopti region (FAMa, 21 June 2022). JNIM militants continued offensives by confronting Dan Na Ambassagou and Donso militiamen, attacking villages in Bandiagara, Djenne, and Douentza circles in the Mopti region, and the Tominian circle in the Segou region. In the Kidal and Tombouctou regions, JNIM also detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) against UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA). Elsewhere, IS Sahel militants attacked and looted from civilians in the Gao region, resulting in dozens of fatalities among members of various Tuareg communities (RFI, 20 June 2022). IS Sahel militants have expanded operations to areas outside their traditional area of operations, being increasingly active around Tidermene in northern Menaka, which is a historical stronghold of JNIM and several signatory armed groups.

In Nigeria, military forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) continued their clearance patrols against Boko Haram (JAS) and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) Lake Chad militants, resulting in high levels of violence across Borno state. ISWAP Lake Chad militants conducted a deadly raid in Goni Kurmi, Bama Local Government Area (LGA), killing over a dozen civilians (Daily Post, 19 June 2022). ISWAP Lake Chad faction also attacked a police station in Okehi LGA of Kogi state. These trends contribute to the 189% increase in violence in Kogi in the past month relative to the past year flagged by ACLED's Subnational Threat Tracker. Elsewhere, militia-related violence increased in Kaduna state compared to last week as militiamen killed and kidnapped civilians in Kajuru, Kachia, and Igabi LGAs. During one kidnapping in Kaduna, militiamen abducted dozens of Baptist Christians at a church in Kajuru LGA for ransom (Champion News, 20 June 2022).

In Sudan, Ethiopian security forces' presence increased in the disputed Al-Fashaga area following a clash between Ethiopian and Sudanese militaries. Khartoum announced that it would recall its envoy to Ethiopia after accusing Ethiopian security forces of killing seven soldiers (Al Jazeera, 27 June 2022). In South Sudan, suspected youth from Pibor attacked civilians and looted cattle in Lopitala of Eastern Equatoria. In Central Equatoria, presumed Bor Dinka attacked Lokiliri in Juba county, killing and abducting civilians, as well as torching houses.

Government and allied forces in Somalia continued operations against Al Shabaab. Military forces targeted hideouts and strongholds near Kismayo town in Lower Juba, killing militants, capturing some, and destroying checkpoints. In Gedo, Kenyan forces continued to conduct airstrikes in areas under suspected Al Shabaab control.

Elsewhere in Kenya, suspected Al Shabaab militants held commuters traveling to Mandera town hostage and destroyed a communication mast in Rhamu. Disorder continued among Kenya Kwanza and Azimio La Umoja supporters during political rallies. The East African Community (EAC) leaders gathered in Nairobi and agreed to send a regional force to the Democratic Republic of Congo to assist Congolese troops, with continued accusations against Rwanda for supporting the March 23 Movement (M23) militants (Al Jazeera, 21 June 2022).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, disorder increased by 35% last week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED's Conflict Change Map. The majority of events took place in North Kivu, where the M23 clashed with military forces and took control of several localities of Rutshuru and Bwisha in Rutshuru territory. In addition, M23 shelled a UN peacekeeping (MINUSCO) base in Shangi, injuring civilians nearby. Political tension remained tense after both Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers moved into Rutshuru territory through the border town of Bunagana (Media Congo, 24 June 2022). Also in North Kivu, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) targeted civilians in Beni territory, killing more than a dozen. In South Kivu, the Twirwaneho-Gumino coalition and allied militants clashed with Mayi Mayi Biloze Bishambuke in Fizi territory. Across the border in Rwanda, the National Liberation Front (FLN) attacked a passenger bus, killing two civilians and injuring others. Afterwards, Rwandan military forces pursued FLN fighters south into Burundi, clashing in the Kibira Forest and leaving many fatalities.