Witchcraft and Vigilante Justice in Africa

Violence involving vigilante militias has been increasing across Africa since 2012 (see Figure 1). Vigilante militias refer to groups that believe their role to be the delivery of justice; they are not formally organized groups and are often associated with a location or small group[1]. ACLED codes violence involving vigilante militias as these groups often…

Pro-government militias and electoral violence in Kenya

Pro-government militias (hereafter PGMs) are political, armed organizations that assist regime and state elites through the practice of illicit violence. They are designed to perpetuate conflict for purposes that conform to regime agendas, and their existence can shed light on power struggles and competition within African institutions. These groups are a large and diverse community…

Conflict Trend Summaries 2016

Kenya Kenya saw a decrease in political violence and reported fatalities in 2016. The vast majority of fatalities in 2016 still came from Al Shabaab activity. The country also saw a spike in demonstrations in June over whether the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be reformed before the general elections of August 2017…

The Geography of Riots and Protests

Since 2013, riots and protests have been the dominant political expression recorded in African countries in the ACLED dataset. Populations took to the streets to express their grievances at a higher rate than more violent organised activity conducted by rebel groups or political militias. In 2016, the recent protests in the Oromia region of Ethiopia,…

Kenya — July 2016 Update

Levels of political conflict and protest in Kenya rose in the last two months. This is reversing a continued, if non-linear, trend of decreasing unrest since the country’s last elections in March 2013 (see Figure 1). The rise in political unrest has been driven by an increase in riots and protests led by the opposition…

The Effect of Inequality on Conflict in Africa

Many have noted inequality as fuel for conflict (see review in Lichbach, 1989). It can serve to exacerbate grievances amongst those who have less-than within unequal contexts, which can in turn serve as a mobilizing factor in fueling violence (Stewart, 2008). Alternatively, it can make the ‘prize’ of conflict larger – within the most unequal…

Al Shabaab in Kenya: Emerging Dynamics and Shifts

In July, US President Barack Obama completed his first official visit to Kenya, which he described as a country ‘at a crossroads – a moment filled with peril, but also enormous pride’ (Obama, 2015). Security was high on the agenda for discussions, as Obama outlined ‘similar threats of terrorism’ faced by the US. Obama’s visit…

Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Political Conflict in Africa

Human rights abuses can range from physical violence to denials of peaceful assembly or freedom of expression. Amnesty International (2015) highlights shortcomings in justice and accountability, where crimes such as gender-based violence go unpunished; this impunity can have further negative ramifications within effected societies (ACLED, 18 February 2015). Irresponsible business practices associated with extractive industries…

A New Working Paper on ACLED Reporting Sources

The growth of online media and easily accessible information has enabled conflict data projects to provide a granular and detailed picture of conflict dynamics with geographically and temporally discrete events (Gleditsch et al., 2013). However, reliance on secondary sources means that datasets may be vulnerable to the biases of those sources. Previous studies on the use of media…