Last week in Africa, events involving Islamist militants decreased in the Sahel region; the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) briefly controlled two villages in Chad; clashes between Teke and Yaka armed groups left many reportedly dead and thousands displaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and state offensives against militants in Somalia resulted in numerous reported fatalities.
In Burkina Faso, violent events dropped in the Boucle du Mouhoun region last week after a brief surge in Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) activity in the region the week prior. This drop coincides with an overall decrease in events across the country. Despite the decrease, Islamist militants continued to confront security forces, attack civilians, and destroy properties in the Boucle du Mouhoun, Center-North, and Sahel regions.
In the deadliest event recorded last week, JNIM militants detonated an explosive device, reportedly killing more than a dozen civilians in Bam province of the Center-North region. JNIM militants also continued to engage in looting, targeting an aid organization and health workers in the town of Solenzo, Boucle du Mouhoun region, which fell under their control in mid-August (Agence d’Information du Burkina, 22 September 2022).
In Mali, levels of violence remained highest in the Mopti region last week due to ongoing anti-Islamist operations by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) and allied Wagner Group mercenaries. FAMa and the Wagner Group clashed with JNIM in the Bankass and Mopti circles. Elsewhere, JNIM perpetrated an attack on an army convoy in Diema circle in the western area of Kayes. Moreover, the Wagner Group and FAMa reportedly killed over a dozen civilians during an attack in Bandiagara circle, Mopti region (RFI, 20 September 2022). The Wagner Group and FAMa have been implicated in numerous mass civilian killings during joint operations in 2022 (for more, see ACLED’s report on civilian targeting by the Wagner Group in Mali and the Central African Republic).
Meanwhile, JNIM continued pushing its offensive further south last week, with the group’s first IED attack in the San circle, Segou region.
In Nigeria, violent events continued to decrease in Zamfara state last week amidst an ongoing military airstrike campaign against militia strongholds under Operation ‘Hadarin Daji.’ The Nigerian Air Force reportedly killed over 40 militia members in three air raids in the Shinkafi, Zurmi, and Kiyawa Local Government Areas (LGAs) (Premium Times, 23 September 2022; The Cable, 17 September 2022).
Elsewhere, heightened levels of political violence continued in Borno state as troops of the Hadin Kai anti-Islamist operation and the Multinational Joint Task Forces continued to confront ISWAP and Boko Haram (JAS). Clashes for supremacy between ISWAP and JAS were also reported around Bama LGA, resulting in the reported deaths of two JAS commanders (Daily Post, 20 September 2022). Following the clash, hundreds of JAS fighters surrendered to the military (Champion News, 23 September 2022).
In the bordering Hadjer-Lamis region of Chad, ISWAP militants increased offensives and briefly captured the villages of Djamal Mara and Kasalare in the Karal subdivision, resulting in several reported fatalities. Soon after, a joint operation of Chadian military and gendarmerie forces pushed ISWAP back and released several hostages (Al Wihda Info, 17 September 2022).
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, clashes between Teke and Yaka armed groups continued in Mai-Ndombe province last week, reportedly leaving many people dead and displacing thousands (Actualite, 22 September 2022; Mediacongo, 23 September 2022). Fighting between the two groups has been ongoing since late July. While violence in Mai-Ndombe 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.
Following a considerable decrease in political disorder in the eastern part of the country the week prior, Allied Democratic Forces attacks resumed last week, reportedly leaving more than a dozen people dead in Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces. Additionally, security forces conducted high-profile arrests of military officials accused of treason and plotting against the country with foreign authorities, most likely Rwanda, which has been accused of backing the M23 by Kinshasa (Chimp Reports, 22 September 2022). The high-ranking Lt. Gen. Philemon Yav from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was among those arrested. The arrests happened amidst increased demonstrations calling for the liberation of the city of Bunagana, at the border with Uganda, captured by M23 in June 2022 (VOA, 22 September 2022).
In Somalia, intense clashes between state forces and Al Shabaab militants resulted in a high number of reported fatalities last week, despite an overall decrease in political violence last week compared to the week prior. In response to increasing Al Shabaab offensives, military forces conducted operations against militant strongholds in Hiraan and deployed troops into Galgaduud. This fighting contributed to the 306% and 214% increases in weekly violent events in Hiraan and Galgaduud, respectively, over the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker.
Amid their ongoing offensives, Al Shabaab commenced a recruitment drive in the militant stronghold of Adan Yabaal district in Middle Shabelle. Meanwhile, in Jilib district in Middle Juba, about 200 new Al Shabaab militants completed training at the Sayid Mohamed Abdule Hassan training base (Radio Alfurqaan, 17 September 2022).
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview