Last week in Africa, Burkinabe military forces conducted a deadly anti-Islamist operation in the Sahel region that reportedly resulted in several dozen civilian deaths. In Nigeria, rioters attacked the convoy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2023 elections. Clashes between the March 23 Movement (M23) and military forces (FARDC) increased in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Somalia, government forces continued to retake territory from Al Shabaab, amid several Al Shabaab attacks on military bases.
In Burkina Faso, the military and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland conducted an operation in the Sahel region that reportedly left at least 42 civilians dead last week. During the operation, state forces carried out shelling and airstrikes on five villages and hamlets of the Djibo department. The majority of those reportedly killed in the operation were women and children from the Fulani Rimaibe community. Meanwhile, in the neighboring Loroum province of the Nord region, Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) attacked a military detachment in the town of Solle. An army helicopter responded to the attack and carried out airstrikes, reportedly killing more than 30 militants. The fighting contributed to a 300% increase in violent events in Nord last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Mali, JNIM fighters continued to engage in civilian targeting, as well as armed confrontations with the military forces, Wagner Group fighters, and Dan Na Ambassagou militiamen last week. In the Mopti region, JNIM assassinated a prominent Donso militia leader in the village of Diombougou in Djenne circle.
In Nigeria, Islamist militant activity in Borno state significantly abated last week compared to weeks prior, amid ongoing military operations. The air component of Hadarin Daji anti-Islamist operation conducted a raid on an Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) position in Belowa village, resulting in 15 reported fatalities. Nigerian troops also repelled an attempt by ISWAP to steal vehicles from the logistics center of a humanitarian hub in Monguno town.
Meanwhile, rioters attacked the convoy of the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar in Maiduguri, Borno state, last week. At least one person was reportedly killed, and more than 70 others sustained injuries in the attack. The PDP blamed the attack on the ruling All Progressives Congress, while the police refuted the PDP’s claims, denying that the attack took place (for more on election-related violence in the run-up to the 25 February 2023 elections, see ACLED’s Nigeria Election Violence Tracker).
In Somalia, an Al Shabaab suicide bomber targeted a military recruitment drive at the General Dhega-badan training camp in Mogadishu last week, reportedly killing dozens of people. This is the second deadly blast in the city over the past two weeks. Further Al Shabaab attacks were carried out on military bases in Qaayib village, Galgaduud region, and Buur Dacar village, Hiraan region, initiated by two suicide bombers and a vehicle-borne IED detonation, respectively. The attacks resulted in heavy exchanges of gunfire and large numbers of reported fatalities.
The series of attacks occurred despite increased operations against Al Shabaab, with the government regaining territory previously under Al Shabaab control. Last week, the government continued its operations to liberate villages in Middle Shabelle, Galgaduud, and Lower Shabelle regions.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the FARDC launched operations against the M23 in the Rutshuru territory of Nord-Kivu province last week, in response to the group’s resumed attacks in the weeks prior. In addition to armed clashes, the FARDC shelled several locations in Bwisha and Rutshuru communes. The clashes and shelling caused civilians to flee the area as the M23 continued its advance towards Goma, the capital of Nord-Kivu. The M23 had previously taken over Goma in 2012 (The Guardian, 20 November 2012). ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in Nord-Kivu during the preceding four weeks.
Locals organized demonstrations in several provinces last week in support of the armed forces in the fight against M23 and against Rwanda’s alleged support to the group. During a summit in Angola, authorities from the DRC and Rwanda agreed to maintain the plans towards peace that were laid out during meetings in July (The East Africa, 8 November 2022), ahead of a new round of peace talks in Nairobi (Africa News, 14 November 2022).
Elsewhere, violence increased in Mai-Ndombe and Kwilu provinces last week after a drop in the number of violent events during the two weeks prior. In Boku, Kwamouth territory, Mai-Ndombe, at least 20 people were reportedly killed during a clash between armed residents and a rival armed ethnic militia. The clash comes amid an outbreak of ethnic violence between Teke and Yaka in the region.
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