Freedom of expression in Libya undermined by targeted civilian killings

Since elections on June 25th, Libya’s volatile political landscape has, to a great extent, been characterised by warring political and ethnic militias vying for power and control. A joint report by UNSMIL and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR, 4 September 2014) documents how the ongoing fighting has impacted ordinary civilian life: multiple armed militias…

Conflict in DR Congo

Conflict in DR Congo continues to involve many of the usual suspects, despite efforts and ultimatums by the UN and humanitarian organizations.  The UN presses on in seeking the disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), with arguably minimal success (so far).  The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) exhibits heightened violence in…

Tunisia’s October Elections and Collective Action

Electoral violence has long spurred debate over the catalysing effects of party rivalries, the strive for democratic institutions, and social divisions on conflict patterns. With parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held in Tunisia on 26 October and 23 November respectively, a number of key factors may be instrumental in shaping conflict in the country over the coming months.…

Al Shabaab in Kenya a Year After Westgate

In the aftermath of the attack by Al Shabaab on the Westgate shopping centre in September 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to punish the perpetrators of the attack and continue the ‘moral war’ against Al Shabaab. Kenyatta also called on Kenya’s diverse society to stand united against the attackers (Jamhuri, 22 September 2013). Yet, Al Shabaab…

Pre-Election Conflict in Mozambique

Mozambique continues to experience a marked escalation in conflict, dating from late 2013.  An increased number of battles and instances of violence against civilians involving the ruling Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO) party – who have held a monopoly on ruling power since independence from Portugal in 1975 – and opposition party the Mozambican…

Conflict in South Sudan: The Rising Role of Political and Ethnic Militias

The civil war in South Sudan continues.  The sixth round of peace talks between president Salva Kiir and SPLA/M-In Opposition leader and former vice-president Riek Machar was delayed last week due to agenda disagreements.[1]  Over the weekend, fighting broke out yet again in Upper Nile state, near the town of Renk, which sits near several oil…

Riots and Protests in Egypt after the November 2013 Protest Law

Nationwide hunger strikes across Egypt have grabbed international media attention in September as political activists, journalists, detainees and lawyers continue to campaign against the Egyptian protest law introduced in November 2013. The protest law is seen by hunger strike participants as a limitation on basic principles of freedom and a restriction on the right to peaceful assembly. Enacted…

The Changing Actors of Political Violence in Zimbabwe

Since the upheaval of the 2008 Zimbabwean presidential elections in which much of the political violence and intimidation recorded was attributed to the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the level of political violence in Zimbabwe and the composition of its perpetrators  has changed dramatically. Aggregate levels of political violence have decreased dramatically since 2008. Figure 1 shows that…

Violence in Somalia

Last week, President Obama announced that the United States plans to deal with the ISIS threat with a similar strategy to what they have been implementing in Somalia to combat Al Shabaab. [1]  This decision has been met with scrutiny, as it is not clear how truly successful or effective the strategy in Somalia has…

The Nigerian Election and the Politicisation of the Boko Haram Insurgency

Boko Haram’s recent seizure of various territories has been noted as a significant evolution in the group’s tactics. Figure 1 shows that Boko Haram has managed to seize territory throughout Borno and has even successfully invaded settlements in the neighbouring state of Yobe. As political factions in Nigeria prepare for the 2015 elections, it is increasingly clear…