Last week in Africa, Islamist militant-related violence remained high in the Sahel and increased in coastal West Africa, driven by the suspected expansion of Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) or Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) into northern Benin. Meanwhile, ethnic militia attacks and clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan reportedly left dozens of people dead.
Burkina Faso recorded the largest number of violent events in the Sahel last week, amid ongoing Islamist offensives in the country. Islamist militants attacked civilians and clashed with local defense militias in the Gorom-Gorom and Markoye departments of Oudalan province, resulting in several reported fatalities. These trends contributed to the 112% increase in violent events in the Sahel region over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. In the Nord, Boucle du Mouhoun, Centre-Nord, and Hauts-Bassins regions, JNIM engaged in a wave of looting and property destruction, targeting civilian houses, telecommunication antennas, and schools across the Zondoma and Yatenga provinces.
Meanwhile, residents continued to demonstrate in six regions with Burkinabe and Russian flags in support of the coup leader, Ibrahim Traore, demanding he remains president during the transition period and calling for Russian military cooperation.
In Mali, JNIM militants confronted military forces and the Dan Na Ambassagou militia and attacked civilians across the Segou, Kayes, and Mopti regions. Notably, JNIM clashed with IS Sahel in the Assakareye valley in the Menaka region, resulting in the reported deaths of six militants. An IED, likely planted by JNIM, struck a communal transport bus near Sibo in Bandiagara circle, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. JNIM also attacked a detention center in Kimparana in San circle and destroyed the facility with explosives.
In neighboring Niger, IS Sahel ambushed a G5 Sahel Force patrol in the Tillaberi region, reportedly killing the son of a village chief and stealing livestock on several occasions. JNIM also continued its offensive in the Torodi area.
In Benin, Islamist militants continued offensives in Northern Atacora and Alibori departments last week. However, militants accidentally detonated an IED while attempting to plant the explosive around Materi town, Atacora department, reportedly resulting in eight militant fatalities. In the Alibori department, presumed Islamist militants kidnapped a Fulani village leader in Mamassy Peuhl village. While violence in Alibori 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.
In Nigeria, military forces conducted an intensive air campaign last week against militias and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the Kaduna and Borno states, respectively. Notably, a military air raid targeted a militia meeting in Giwa town of Kaduna state, reportedly killing dozens of fighters. Additionally, troops repelled two ISWAP ambushes in Bama and Ngala Local Government Areas of Borno state, reportedly killing over 40 militants (The Guardian, 12 October 2022). Meanwhile, rival cult militias clashed over territorial supremacy in Port Harcourt, contributing to the 300% increase in violent events in Rivers state last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Rivers during the preceding four weeks.
In Somalia, political violence decreased last week despite Al Shabaab’s continued targeting of government forces, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, and local militias. In the Hiraan region, Al Shabaab ambushed government security force bases in Bulo Burto district, where the group recently lost control of some of its strongholds, with some reports suggesting that the attacks resulted in more than 100 fatalities (Anadolu Agency, 10 October 2022; Goobjoog News, 9 October 2022). Al Shabaab also continued to target Ethiopian Liyu police forces in Rab Dhuure district of Bakool, with a Liyu convoy hitting two IEDs and reportedly killing nine people.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, political violence in Sud-Kivu remained at heightened levels last week as different Mayi Mayi militia factions attacked civilians and clashed with military forces in Fizi, Mwenga, and Shabunda territories. In Ituri province, the Cooperative for Development of Congo and Chini Ya Tuna continued to target civilians in Djugu and Irumu territories, respectively. Violence also resumed in Mai-Ndombe and Kwilu provinces, with at least 30 civilians reportedly killed across Kwamouth and Kwilu territories following ongoing clashes between Teke and Yaka ethnic militias.
In South Sudan, a Nuer militia attacked ethnic Shilluk civilians in Fashoda, Malakal, and Panyikang counties of Upper Nile state, leading to around 40 reported fatalities and the displacement of thousands of people (Eye Radio, 11 October 2022). Elsewhere, in Warrap and the disputed Abyei area, clashes between Twic and Ngok Dinka clan militias reportedly left at least 25 people dead.
In Sudan, violence resumed in Blue Nile state with deadly clashes between Ingessana and Hausa ethnic militias in Wad Al Mahi locality. The incident occurred after members of the Ingessana ethnic group refused to accept the return of displaced Hausa people who had fled the region in recent months (Sudan Tribune, 14 October 2022). Elsewhere in West Kordofan, a land dispute led to clashes between Misseriya and Nuba ethnic militias in Lagawa city.
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