Conflict Early Warning Report
September 2023

The ACLED Conflict Alert System (CAST) forecasts political violence up to six months into the future. Forecasts are made globally - at the national and sub-national levels - and can be disaggregated by event type (battles, explosions/remote violence, or violence against civilians). Every month, ACLED CAST produces a report highlighting key conflict developments and significant predictions for the coming months. This report reflects the September 2023 update of global forecasts.

Democratic Republic of Congo
For August, CAST predicted 139 events of organized political violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, around 11% below the 6 month average of 157 events per month. There were ultimately 143 events during the month, narrowly missing the forecast.

Civilians were attacked in 85 of the 143 August events, with perpetrators including a variety of rebel groups, political militias, identity militias, and state forces. The ADF: Allied Democratic Forces were the most active group during the month, involved in 47 events in total (18 battles and 29 violence against civilians events). Also of note, the March 23 Movement (M23) was involved in 16 events (7 battles and 9 violence against civilians events) in Nord-Kivu province, including 3 armed clashes with self defense groups referred to as wazalendo (see ACLED's July Africa Regional Overview for more).

The CAST prediction for August is 136 events for the country, just below the most recent tally. About 60% of these events are expected to be violence against civilians, with the remainder being battles . Nord-Kivu is again expected to be the most active province (61 events), followed by Ituri (38 events).

For more on political violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, see ACLED's Africa Regional Hub.

There were 85 organized political violence events in Afghanistan in August, about 25 more events than CAST predicted. The most active provinces included Badakhshan (18 events), Kabul (12 events), and Takhar (11 events), all of which tallied an increase in violence compared to recent months.

In total, political violence increased by 60% relative to the recent low in June. Much of this violence stems from an increasing number of battles between the ruling Taliban and the National Resistance Front (NRF). To learn more about these clashes, see the joint ACLED and Afghan Peace Watch (APW) report on Two Years of Repression: Mapping Taliban Violence Targeting Civilians in Afghanistan.

CAST predictions suggest that the recent increase in violence will remain steady, with about 80 events forecasted for September. Most of the predicted events are either battles (36 events) or violence against civilians (35 events), with the highest concentration of activity forecasted in Badakhshan province.

For more on violence in Afghanistan, see ACLED's Asia-Pacific Regional Hub.

Organized political violence spiked throughout August in Ethiopia with 166 observed events, nearly doubling the expected total. Violence was most severe in the Amhara Region, where there were 99 events, most of which were battles involving Fano militias and state security forces. Violence was also high in the Oromia Region, rising to 57 events in August following a recent low in July (7 events).

The distribution of event types in August shifted more heavily towards battles than CAST predicted. The proportion of battles to total events increased by nearly 10 percentage points relative to the forecast, while the proportion of violence against civilians events decreased by a similar amount.

For September, CAST predicts 139 events across the country, slightly below the August total but above the recent norm. In three regions - Amhara, Oromia, and SNNP - the forecasted violence is at least 25% above the 3 month norm, suggesting a large increase in predicted activity.

For more on conflict across Ethiopia, see ACLED's Africa Regional Hub and Ethiopia Peace Observatory.

Political violence rose in Indonesia for the second month in a row, from a low of 6 events in June to 32 events in August. Of these events, 20 were violence against civilians, while the remaining 12 were battles . About 90% of August events were in Papua province, home to separatist violence between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and Indonesian security forces.

The number of violent events involving the TPNPB has increased over the past few months. In August, the TPNPB were involved in over half of all events in Indonesia. For background on the TPNPB, see ACLED's report on Papuan Independence and Political Disorder in Indonesia.

CAST predictions for September total 27 events across the country, a 35% increase relative to the 3 month norm. Of these events, 22 are expected to be in Papua, 13 violence against civilians and 9 battles .

For more on the political violence in Indonesia, see ACLED's Asia-Pacific Regional Hub.