Last week in Africa, the Tigrayan capital of Mekele fell to federal forces in Ethiopia; intercommunal violence left dozens of people dead in Chad; and Boko Haram militants committed a massacre close to the Borno state capital in Nigeria, as state forces continued to launch operations against armed groups in the northwest.
In Ethiopia, federal forces continued to make strong territorial gains against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), headlined by the capture of the Tigrayan capital of Mekele. Federal forces also took control of the Eastern Tigrayan towns of Hawzen, Wikro, and Adigrat. In the Benshangul-Gumaz region, targeted attacks on civilian populations continued, with attacks reported in Bulen, Dibate, Mandura, and Dangur woredas.
The disorder in Ethiopia has also taken on an increasingly regional dynamic, with cross-border shelling and clashes reported in Eritrea and Kenya, respectively. The TPLF shelled the Eritrean capital of Asmara and the town of Dekemhare in the Debub region. Meanwhile, Ethiopian forces crossed the Kenyan border and clashed with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fighters near the Moyale border town. Ethiopian forces also detained Kenyan civilians accused of providing refuge to the OLF fighters.
In Chad, intercommunal violence left dozens of people dead in the East Mayo-Kebbi region. The armed clashes, involving communal militias from farming and pastoralist communities, began in Berem canton, before spreading to villages surrounding the town of Gounou Gaya. Thousands of people were reportedly displaced by the violence (Alwihda, 25 November 2020). In the Lac region, an Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) IED destroyed a Chadian army boat near Ngouboua, leaving multiple soldiers dead.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram militants abducted and killed a large number of farmers at Garin Kwashebe, close to the capital of Borno state, Maiduguri. The attack was believed to be in reprisal for the earlier disarmament and detention of a Boko Haram militant in the area (Premium Times, 29 November 2020). While initial reports indicated at least 43 deaths, later reports have suggested that the figure may have exceeded 100 fatalities (The Guardian, 29 November 2020), making it the deadliest Boko Haram attack on civilians this year. In June, Boko Haram militants killed 81 civilians during an attack in the Gubio local government area. Elsewhere, state forces launched heavy airstrikes on armed groups in Katsina and Zamfara states. Over a hundred fighters were reportedly killed during airstrikes on Birnin Kogo and Dunya forests in Katsina, with further fatalities reported during an airstrike on Ajjah forest in Zamfara.
In South Africa, multiple fatalities were reported amid escalating xenophobic violence associated with an ongoing campaign against foreign truck drivers working in the country. In Gauteng province, fatal attacks on truck drivers were reported near Alberton and Heidelberg. Further petrol bombings and shootings were also reported in the provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) and the Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) led demonstrations against foreign truck drivers in Durban, with demonstrations turning violent. The ATDF has threatened further acts of disruption unless all foreign drivers vacate their positions (The Mercury, 24 November 2020).
A separate, weekly discussion of the ongoing conflict in Mozambique can be found in the Cabo Ligado project.
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