During the previous fortnight in Africa, the Government of National Accord (GNA) made key gains in the west of Libya, further frustrating the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Tripoli offensive; the Allied Defence Force (ADF) consolidated recent moves outside their traditional area of operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s northeast; and Al Shabaab assassinated a governor in Somalia’s Puntland for the second time in the last two months.
The fortnight began with heavy intercommunal fighting in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. Two days of clashes between Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic militias were reported in multiple locations across Uror county, resulting in hundreds of fatalities, including three aid workers. The violence follows earlier raids by Lou Nuer militiamen on Murle populations in late February and early March.
In Somalia, Al Shabaab militants assassinated the governor of the Puntland-controlled Mudug region. The governor was killed, along with a number of his security guards, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden rickshaw in Gaalkacyo town. The assassination comes less than two months after another Al Shabaab suicide bombing killed the governor of Nugal region.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congolese military forces (FARDC) staged successful operations against Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) militants in the north of Ituri. The FARDC regained control of a number of villages in Djugu territory. Meanwhile, ADF militants consolidated recent moves into the south of Ituri province, establishing a base at Kamambou in Irumu territory. The base underlines a concerted push by the group into Ituri province. ADF militants staged several attacks on civilian populations in Irumu territory throughout the fortnight, including simultaneous attacks on the villages of Samboko and Tikamaibo, which left dozens dead. The ADF also remains active in its traditional area of operations in North Kivu’s Beni territory.
In northwest Nigeria, state forces launched a series of airstrikes targeting alleged militants in Zamfara and Katsina. In neighboring Sokoto state, dozens of civilians were killed when gunmen attacked five villages in the Sabon Birni area. Elsewhere, in the northeastern state of Borno, Nigerian forces continued recent operations against Boko Haram. Clashes in Kukawa, Gwoza, Dikwa, and Bama local government areas left dozens of Boko Haram militants dead.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram launched significant attacks on military targets in Cameroon and Niger. In Niger, militants attacked an army position in Diffa’s N’Guigmi commune. In Cameroon’s Far-North, militants attacked and temporarily occupied a marine military camp in Fotokol subdivision. The latter attack was claimed by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
In Libya, GNA forces took control of the strategic Al Watiyah airbase near the border with Tunisia. The capture comes after nearly two months of operations to seize the airbase and follows recent GNA gains in the west of the country. The GNA also regained control of a number of suburbs in the capital of Tripoli, in a further sign of the LNA’s diminishing successes in their year-long offensive on the Libyan capital. Meanwhile, Islamic State (IS) militants launched attacks on LNA forces in Murzuq district and Tamanhint in neighboring Sebha district. Despite once controlling the strategic city of Sirte, IS Libya has had an operationally unimportant presence in recent times.
Finally, a recent upswing in demonstration activity continued in Tunisia. During the past two weeks, ACLED records the greatest number of demonstration events in Tunisia since early April 2019, when fuel hikes prompted nationwide protests. Demonstrations coalesced around a number of labor-related issues, including demands for the reversal of a government decision to halt public sector recruitment amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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