During the last five weeks in Africa, the Malian government was overthrown in a military coup; election-related violence was reported in the Ivory Coast, Uganda, and the Central African Republic; and a ceasefire was declared in Libya.
In Mali, national guards conducted a military coup on 18 August, and arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other senior officials. President Keita announced his resignation later that day. The coup followed weeks of anti-government demonstrations led by the Movement of June 5 – Rally of Patriotic Forces, calling for President Keita’ resignation over the worsening security situation in the country.
The Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives announced a ceasefire in Libya, and released a statement calling for elections in March 2021 (BBC, 21 August 2020). The ceasefire formalized a stalemate that had been marked by a dramatic drop in violent events in June, following the cessation of the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) failed Tripoli offensive. The lull in combat has, however, exposed the rival governments to sharp criticism, with demonstrations against worsened living conditions and corruption staged in various parts of the country, both in GNA and LNA-controlled areas. In Tripoli, demonstrations continued over several days, as police and pro-GNA militias opened fire on demonstrators. One demonstrator was killed during the violence.
In Egypt’s North Sinai, Egyptian military forces reclaimed territory from the Islamic State (IS) by retaking several villages in the Bir Al-Abd area. The Bir Al-Abd area has been the site of sustained clashes between IS and state forces since IS seized control of several villages in the area in July.
In Ethiopia, the detention of prominent Oromo and Wolayita regional leaders prompted widespread demonstration activity. Multiple fatalities were reported in both Oromia and Wolayita (a zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region-SNNPR), as state forces opened fire on demonstrators. In Oromia, state forces also carried out a number of lethal attacks on civilian populations, including separate attacks resulting in the deaths of two imams.
In South Sudan, armed cattle guards, presumably belonging to the Rek Dinka community, clashed with the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) across two days of fighting in Tonj East county. More than a hundred people were killed during the fighting, and hundreds have been displaced. Elsewhere, dozens of fatalities were reported as the SSPDF also clashed with National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels in Central Equatoria.
In Uganda, rival supporters clashed over alleged voter fraud during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries for upcoming national elections to be held in early 2021. Further clashes were also reported between NRM supporters and police, as well as supporters of the Democratic Party (DP).
In the Central African Republic, the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) staged a series of attacks on agents working for the National Election Authority (ANE). The agents have been carrying out voter registration ahead of elections due to be held in December.
Meanwhile, nationwide demonstrations were staged in the Ivory Coast, against the candidacy of President Ouattara for a third term. Multiple fatalities were reported during clashes between demonstrators and state forces. Clashes were also reported between demonstrators, including supporters of various opposition parties, and supporters of the ruling Rally of Houphouetistes for Democracy and Peace (RHDP).
A separate, weekly discussion of the ongoing conflict in Mozambique can be found via the Cabo Ligado project.
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