Last week in Africa, militants of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) continued offensives in Burkina Faso and Mali, leading to high levels of violence in the Sahel region; separatist conflict in Cameroon spilled over into Nigeria; a state of emergency in Sudan was lifted; and joint American and Somali forces targetted militant bases in Somalia.
In Burkina Faso, JNIM militants continued attacks on civilians and clashes against security forces and Volunteer for Defense of Homeland (VDP), resulting in sustained high levels of violence across the North and Center-North regions. In response to the Islamists’ offensive, government forces conducted airstrikes and artillery shelling against presumed JNIM militant positions, mainly in the Kossi province of the Boucle du Mouhoun region. In addition, JNIM launched a large-scale attack involving mortar shelling against security forces’ positions and infrastructure in Soum province of the Sahel region, causing a dozen fatalities.
In Mali, JNIM clashes with Dan Na Ambassagou and Donso militias led to the highest levels of violence in the Mopti region. JNIM targeted UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA) with explosive devices and attacked civilians. Islamist militants attacked MINUSMA in the Kidal and Mopti regions, resulting in several fatalities (ONU Info, 3 June 2022). Elsewhere, JNIM militants attacked a Malian armed forces (FAMa) convoy in the Gao region, which resulted in more than a dozen fatalities. Although denied by FAMa, military and Wagner Group forces were accused of arresting and summarily executing over a dozen Fulani men (FAMa, 4 June 2022). Later, the bodies were found in a mass grave in the Kolongo-Tomo commune of Segou region.
In Cameroon, Ambazonian separatists conducted several attacks and looted properties in the Anglophone North-West and South-West regions. In the Manyu department of the South-West region, local self-defense groups clashed with separatists, resulting in over a dozen civilian fatalities. Military forces conducted an operation in the Momo department of the North-West region, killing several separatist fighters and freeing hostages, including a female Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) ruling party Senator (Mimi Mefo, 31 May 2022).
In Nigeria, militia-related violence remained high as gunmen engaged in an offensive across the Bungudu and Maradun Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Zamfara state and Gabasawa LGA of Kano state, clashing with self-defense militias and resulting in dozens of fatalities. Election-related violence decreased compared to previous weeks ahead of presidential primaries. However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) ruling party organized protests in Osun, Lagos, and Imo states over disputes concerning the party’s presidential primary elections. While refuted by Nigerian police (Daily Post, 30 May 2022), Ambazonian separatists crossed into the Boki LGA of Cross River state and killed tens of Cameroonian civilians fleeing from violence. The myriad of conflicts in Nigeria led to an increase in emerging actors this month, presenting a possible increased risk to civilians (ACLED Emerging Actor Tracker).
Levels of violence increased in Libya compared to previous weeks as armed clashes broke out in Tripoli between rival militias, including those affiliated with the Government of National Solidarity under Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha. In the Southern Murzuq district, the Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade and the Libyan military conducted operations against the Islamic State. These trends contribute to the 250% increase in violence in Libya over the past week relative to the past month that is flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.
In Sudan, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burha lifted the state of emergency following nationwide demonstrations for democratic governance and the killing of two demonstrators by security forces in Khartoum (France 24, 29 May 2022). In Gedaref, suspected Ethiopian gunmen attacked and killed a civilian in the disputed Al Fashaga area and abducted another and stole a tractor in Basundah locality.
In South Sudan, an armed group suspected to be from Leer county killed the Paramount Chief of Rubkuay payam and a woman in Mayendit county, further contributing to tensions between rebel and ex-rebel factions as well as allied Nuer clan militias in central Unity state. Furthermore, Ugandan troops set up camps in Magwi county, Eastern Equatoria state, following cattle raids in Uganda by South Sudanese gunmen (Radio Tamazuj, 3 June 2022).
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, military forces (FARDC) regained control of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo after March 23 Movement (M23) militants left towards the Rwandan border (Radio Okapi, 30 May 2022). Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants clashed with FARDC, leaving scores of people killed and injured in Beni territory. In Kinshasa, thousands demonstrated for the government to cut diplomatic ties with Rwanda for their support of the M23. In Ituri province, Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo (FPIC)-Chini ya Kilima militants delivered a unilateral ceasefire pledge after mediation with UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) (Bunia Actualité, 30 May 2022). Also in Ituri, Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) militants killed IDPs in Djugu. In Tanganyika province, FARDC clashes against an ethnic Twa militia led to the military regaining control of several villages (Radio Okapi, 02 June 2022) and contributed to a 100% increase in violence in the province last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Somalia, Al Shabaab militant attacks against the government and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces left scores of fatalities. In Hiraan, more than a dozen Al Shabaab militants were killed during a revenge clash with Hawadle-Ali Madaxweyne sub-clan militia after Al Shabaab killed a clan elder. Joint Somali special forces and American military forces in Lower Juba conducted an airstrike against Al Shabaab positions near Beerhani village. Under the country’s new administration, this joint operation was the first time US forces deployed inside Somalia since the announcement by former President Trump to pull American troops from the country in late 2020 (VOA, 17 May 2022).
In Kenya, Al Shabaab militants clashed with security forces in the Heyley area of Garissa county. In Kajiado, demonstrations over insecurity led to the death of four people after police intervened. Elsewhere, suspected Pokot militants killed civilians, including children, and seized livestock in Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties.
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