Last week in Africa, levels of violence remained high in the Sahel region as Islamist militants continued offensives in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali; deadly clashes erupted in Libya; communal violence continued in the Blue Nile state of Sudan; a county commissioner was killed in an attack in South Sudan; and political leaders survived targeted attacks in Somalia.
In Burkina Faso, levels of violence remained high in the East, Sahel, and Center-North regions as Islamist militants continued confrontations against the military forces and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) and violence against civilians. Islamist militants attacked the two localities of Guissendiori and Sago in the Sebba department of Yagha province, killing several civilians. In response, the Burkinabe military forces conducted air and ground operations, resulting in dozens of fatalities among militants across the Bam province of the Center-North region and Yagha province of the Sahel region. The Chief of Staff of the Burkinabe Armed Forces (EMGA) also announced that the joint operation between Burkinabe and Nigerien forces in the Sahel region resulted in over fifty militant fatalities (SIG, 18 July 2022).
In Mali, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) conducted a coordinated campaign of attacks involving suicide car bombs and shellings, targeting several Malian army bases in the central and southern regions of Mopti, Segou, and Koulikoro. The attacks resulted in several casualties among government forces and militants. Some of the attacks as part of this campaign failed, including a defunct suicide car bomb near Thy and another premature detonation near Koro, in the Mopti region (Twitter, 23 July 2022). While violence in Koulikoro has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index. The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) announced to have killed fifty militants in operations over three weeks (FAMa, 20 July 2022). In neighboring Niger, violent events surged in the Tillaberi region as militants of the Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) clashed with militiamen from Banibangou for two days, attacked several villages, and looted livestock.
In Nigeria, political violence increased this week compared to last week, as the number of Islamist militant and militia-related incidents grew in Borno, Katsina, and Kaduna states. In Borno state, militants of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) or Boko Haram (JAS) clashed with security forces and attacked civilians, resulting in dozens of fatalities. Gunmen throughout Katsina and Kaduna were the most active actors, confronting the police and military forces and carrying out a wave of attacks in Faskari Local Government Area (LGA), killing several civilians. Militia activity in Kaduna was concentrated in Birnin Gwari LGA, ambushing Boko Haram around Birnin Gwari and leaving numerous militant fatalities (Twitter, 17 July 2022). Elsewhere, election-related events reemerged in the context of Osun state gubernatorial elections and the announcement of presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections. In one case, an armed group shot and killed one Peoples Democratic (PDP) opposition party supporter during the gubernatorial election in Ikire, Irewole LGA.
In Libya, political violence remained high as the Special Deterrence Forces attacked the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade in multiple neighborhoods of Tripoli, resulting in over a dozen combatant and civilian fatalities.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, political disorder in the eastern provinces decreased, but violence remained widespread. Clashes between Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and military forces (FARDC) claimed many lives in both Ituri and North Kivu provinces. In Ituri, ADF kidnapped more than a dozen children following an attack on Kyangele village. FARDC offensives against the ADF resulted in the seizure of weapons and some territory in Beni, North Kivu. In the capital of North Kivu, dozens demonstrated at the United Nations peacekeeping (MONUSCO) headquarters, calling for the end of their operations (La Prunelle RDC, 22 July 2022). Elsewhere in Tshopo province, Mayi Mayi militants kidnapped tens of women and girls within the Bafwasende territory.
In Kenya, political disorder continued as the General Election drew closer. Six police officers were injured when demonstrators smashed windows and destroyed vehicles at an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) meeting in Kisii town, accusing IEBC officials of biases. Furthermore, Al Shabaab militants attacked a national police service (NPS) camp near Boni Forest in Garissa county.
In Somalia, Al Shabaab militants launched several offensives against security forces and allied forces in southern Somalia, with increased attacks in Banadir and Lower Shabelle regions compared to the previous week. In Lower Juba and Middle Shabelle, four political figures, including the deputy speaker of the Jubaland local parliament, survived targeted attacks. In Jowhar town, militants claimed responsibility for a vehicle-borne IED (VBIED) attack at the Nuur-Doob hotel that killed two people and injured more than a dozen, including three ministers. Close to the Ethiopian border, clashes between Al Shabaab militants and Ethiopia’s Liyu police in Ato and Yeed in the Bakool region left many killed, with militants crossing the border and clashes continuing with reported fatalities (Africa News, 22 July 2022).
In South Sudan, South Sudan People’s Movement/Army loyal to the former Major General Stephen Buay attacked Mayom town in Unity state, killing the commissioner of Mayom county and eleven others. The Mayom commissioner was also the brother of the Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak, who publicly stated that he was not seeking revenge (Eye Radio, 25 July 2022). In-fighting among the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition Kitgweng faction killed more than a dozen soldiers in Panyikang county. The leader of the faction, General Simon Gatwech, accused the government of failing to honor the peace agreement reached in January and that his forces had not been integrated into the military (Sudans Post, 21 July 2022). In nearby Sudan, continued fighting between Hausa and Berta ethnic militias in Blue Nile state left many killed and hundreds injured. These trends contributed to a 220% increase in violence in the Blue Nile state over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Across the country, demonstrators called for an end to insecurity in the Blue Nile. In Gedaref and Kassala states, security forces intervened when demonstrations by members of the Hausa ethnic group turned violent, killing several demonstrators and injuring others.
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