Last week in Africa, fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigrayan forces prompted fears of a civil war in Ethiopia; Al Shabaab launched a series of assassination attempts targeting government figures in Somalia; and opposition parties launched an alternate administration in response to the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara in the Ivory Coast.
In Ethiopia, violence erupted between Ethiopian federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of the Tigrayan regional government, encouraging fears of an impending civil war. TPLF forces attacked an Ethiopian military base in the Tigrayan capital of Mekele, prompting retaliatory operations and airstrikes. Further clashes were reported in the North Gondar zone of Amhara, near the border with Tigray. Relations have been openly antagonistic between the Tigrayan and Ethiopian governments in recent months, exacerbated by the Tigrayan government’s decision to defy the federal government and stage regional elections in September (BBC, 6 November 2020). The federal government had delayed scheduled elections until 2021 in response to the coronavirus pandemic and refused to recognize any regional elections held during that time (Quartz, 18 June 2020). Meanwhile, Oromo Liberation Front-Shane (OLF-Shane) militants reportedly killed dozens during an attack on ethnic Amhara civilians in Guliso in the West Wollega zone of Oromia. State forces launched a retaliatory attack on OLF-Shane militants, killing 24 militants. Government sources have accused the TPLF of supporting OLF-Shane (Bloomberg, 2 November 2020).
In Somalia, Al Shabaab launched several assassinations attempts on government figures in Gulmudug and Mogadishu. In Mogadishu, Al Shabaab killed a deputy district commissioner in an IED attack, with further IED attacks unsuccessfully targeting a senator, as well as the Minister for Labor and Social Affairs. In Dhuusamarreeb, the capital of Gulmudug, Al Shabaab launched a mortar attack targeting the President of Gulmudug’s airplane as it took off from Ugaas Nur airstrip. The aircraft was not damaged in the attack. In the days following the attack, Somali forces launched an assault on Al Shabaab targets near Dhuusamarreeb, resulting in multiple militant and military fatalities.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) fighters launched assaults on military targets in the Djugu territory of Ituri province. The assaults were centered on areas taken by military forces during the previous week. Military forces also continued operations in the area, driving CODECO from areas surrounding the former CODECO stronghold of Bedu-Ezekere. In North Kivu, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) continued its recent campaign of attacks on civilian targets.
In the Ivory Coast, ongoing political violence escalated into armed confrontations between state forces and unidentified armed men in the aftermath of elections that saw the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara. Armed men opened fire on government convoys in Toumodi subdivision and Gbeke region, in the districts of Lacs and Vallee du Bandama, respectively. A civilian and a gendarme were killed during the clash in Toumodi. The latest violence came as opposition parties joined together to declare an alternate administration, the National Council for Transition, having earlier boycotted the election (BBC, 7 November 2020). Police responded to the announcement with the arrests of key opposition figures, including former prime minister and leader of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), Pascal Affi N’Guessan. A parliamentarian and two senators from the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI) were also arrested. (For more on the Ivorian elections, see the ACLED Ivory Coast Election Watch.)
In Algeria, demonstrators destroyed ballot boxes and clashed with police in several locations during demonstrations opposing a referendum on 1 November. The successful vote, promoted by the president and military as offering pro-democratic reforms, was boycotted by the pro-democracy Hirak movement (DW, 1 November 2020).
In Mali, rioters attacked a United Nations peacekeeping (MINUSMA) base during a demonstration against recent comments on Islam by French President Emmanuel Macron and the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine. The backlash has come amid sustained operations by French forces targeting jihadi elements Mali. Dozens of militants were killed near Ntillit in Gao region during a French air-supported operation against Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) militants from the Ansaroul and Katiba Gourma factions. Anti-French demonstrations were also reported in Senegal, Somalia, Mauritania and Nigeria.
A separate, weekly discussion of the ongoing conflict in Mozambique can be found in the Cabo Ligado project.
© 2020 Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). All rights reserved.