CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
Speculation surrounding health of President Dos Santos increased after he visited Brazil for second time in month. 3 soldiers killed in northeast in ambush by FLEC Cabinda separatists.
South Africa agreed to mediate between government and FNL rebels, following March announcement by rebel faction leader Rwasa that FNL ready for talks. Security situation improved in parts of Burundi prompting government to lift 34-year midnight curfew, while demobilisation camp for FNL fighters opened in Bubanza province. Burundi, DRC, Rwanda and Uganda called on UN and AU to impose sanctions on leaders of illegal armed groups, including FNL. UN and government officials agreed on terms for establishing truth and reconciliation commission and special court for war crimes.
Government closed border with Sudan 14 April in protest at Khartoum’s support for rebel offensive in Chad. CAR rebels reportedly joined Chadian rebel forces, some of whom passed through CAR. Top court referred former President Patasse to International Criminal Court on war crimes charges. 2 WHO doctors killed by armed assailants in north, where attacks linked to anti-government rebellion have increased in recent months.
Security deteriorated as Chadian FUCD rebels launched major attack on N’Djamena 13 April ahead of presidential election set for 3 May; 300 reported killed, 160 captured. Government accused Sudan of backing rebels, cut off diplomatic ties with Khartoum and shut borders. AU team sent to investigate; rebels interviewed reported they had received assistance from Sudan. France, with military base in Chad, provided intelligence and indicated support for “legitimacy and legality” of government led by President Déby. World Bank agreed to lift freeze on loans and oil fund if government adopts law dedicating 70% of oil revenues to poverty reduction; Déby had threatened to shut pipeline if not given access to funds to purchase weapons and pay salaries.
Talks held between political leaders and Forces Nouvelles ex-rebels, focusing on disarmament and voter identification - key issues ahead of October elections. Sides agreed to simultaneously implement both processes, though President Gbagbo voiced opinion that disarmament should precede identification. UNSG Annan called for strengthening UNOCI peacekeeping force by 4,000 troops to help ensure peaceful transition. 5 killed in alleged inter-ethnic clash near Liberian border 29 April.
Logistical delays, political wrangling and continued fighting by militia in Kivus and Katanga obstructing elections: vote set for 30 July. Main opposition party UDPS announced boycott of polls, claiming will not be free and fair. Electoral commission accepted 33 presidential candidates; 10,000 signed up to run for 500 parliamentary seats. Supreme Court ruled Kabila could run for president, after opposition group submitted petition against candidature. UN and Congolese troops launched offensive against FDLR rebels in east, while new contingent of peacekeepers arrived to boost security in Katanga, where fighting between army and Mai Mai militias has displaced thousands. UN Security Council authorised redeployment of peacekeepers from Burundi to DRC, and EU mission to support MONUC for elections.
Pro-democracy protesters blocked South African- Swazi border crossing; SA police arrested 20, later released on bail. King Mswati said constitution lifted ban on political parties but opposition groups claimed still blocked from power.
Government said talks underway with opposition CUD party to resolve political impasse. CUD, which won all seats on Addis Ababa city council in 2005 election, failed to provide required number of elected councillors to take over administration before 18 April deadline set by government. Series of explosions set off by unknown culprits continued: 6 killed in blasts in Gedo and Jijiga. Cross-border cattle raids from Kenya and Sudan killed up to 25. Independent radio broadcasts began early April after government issued licences to 2 stations.
UN Security Council extended UNMEE mandate for 1 month and agreed to decide mid-May whether to scale back mission if sides fail to comply with UNSC demands. International Boundary Commission London meeting with Ethiopia and Eritrea set 28-29 April postponed for month due to ill health of commission head.
5 arrested in March for allegedly plotting to overthrow President Jammeh escaped when vehicle transporting them to prison crashed. 17 suspects later charged with treason; case adjourned to 10 May.
Power struggle emerging within ailing President Lansana Conté’s cabinet. State radio announced cabinet reshuffle 5 April granting PM Cellou Diallo and associates greater power; broadcast cut off by presidential guard. Decree rescinded and PM Diallo sacked next day.
Guinea Bissau/Senegal: Guinea-Bissau troops ended offensive against Senegalese secessionist Movement for the Democratic Forces of Casamance 21 April.
Further political instability as government debated possible third term bid for President Obasanjo amid wide-scale protests. Rift widened between president and VP Abubakar, who called for Obasanjo’s resignation before announcing own candidacy for 2007 elections. MEND rebels rejected presidential initiative to create jobs in Niger Delta; set off car bombs at military base in Port Harcourt, killing 2, and near Warri; threatened to shut down all oil production. 25 killed in ethnic land dispute between Gomai and Pan tribes in Plateau state; more than 1,200 displaced.
Diplomatic row with Uganda after senior Rwandan envoy arrested for adultery; Kigali later accused Kampala of harbouring Rwandan rebel groups.
Former Liberian President Taylor appeared in Special Court 3 April, pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for role in SL civil war. UN Security Council considered resolution to transfer trial to The Hague for security reasons, but question remained as to where Taylor might be accommodated afterwards; Taylor’s defence lawyer filed motion trial be held in SL. Peoples Movement for Democratic Change party, headed by Charles Margai, officially registered 11 April.
Outbreak of further major fighting feared imminent in Mogadishu after Islamic courts declared jihad on U.S.-backed Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism; 7 killed in clashes. Transitional parliament confirmed Baidoa temporary seat of government until security restored in Mogadishu, settling issue that had paralysed administration. Militia protecting parliament prevented lawmakers from entering session 1 April, complaining of inadequate shelter. At least 3 killed in clash between soldiers loyal to Puntland’s president and regional clan opposed to exploration activities by Australian oil company. U.S. held talks with government on fighting piracy off Somali coast; 2 ships hijacked in month.
Yemen offered to mediate border dispute between Somaliland and Puntland, following visit by Somaliland President Kahin.
Severe insecurity in Darfur continued, spilling over into Chad: latter cut off diplomatic ties after 13 April Chadian rebel attack on N’Djamena, claiming Khartoum support. Janjaweed militias raided refugee camps inside Chadian border. 48-hour extension given after 30 April deadline at Abuja peace talks passed without deal: government agreed to sign AU-backed agreement, but SLA/JEM rebels rejected plan, failing to find common position. Relations with UN worsened after Sudan denied humanitarian affairs chief Jan Egeland and, separately, UN military assessment team permission to visit Darfur. UN Security Council imposed sanctions on 4 Sudanese individuals held responsible for atrocities in Darfur; while UNSC committee recommended extending sanctions and instituting no-fly zone. Al-Qaeda head bin Laden threatened war against international community in Darfur. In continued violence in south, 15 killed in clashes between SSDF militia and SPLM forces; SSDF in- fighting killed 32. In eastern Kassala, rebels attacked government positions, killing 8; Khartoum asked Eritrea to mediate.
Supreme Court rejected opposition leader Besigye’s challenge to February presidential election, saying no evidence results were substantially affected by irregularities, but agreeing vote flawed (names struck off voters’ list, counting problem, bribes, multiple voting, intimidation and violence). Controversial treason trial for Besigye and 22 co-accused continued. Uganda asked UN Security Council to allow it to enter DRC under UN supervision in pursuit of LRA hiding in Garamba National Park. DR Congo later accused Ugandan troops of illegally entering country, which MONUC deemed “credible”; Kampala denied charge.
Faction of opposition MDC party led by Mutambara weakened by series of high-profile defections to main faction led by Tsvangirai. Latter worked to build support for anti-government demonstrations as severe economic crisis continued. President Mugabe vowed crackdown on protestors and increased security service salaries. Ruling ZANU-PF party plan to amend constitution to delay presidential election to 2010 abandoned; seen as effort to facilitate VP Mujuru’s succession to Mugabe. In apparent u-turn of government land seizure policy, white farmers invited to apply for land.
Taliban “spring offensive” saw increased suicide attacks and bombings in south and east; more expected amidst transition from U.S. control to NATO in south. U.S., UK and national security forces launched its largest operation since 2001 in eastern Kunar province. Heavy fighting erupted in Kandahar as international and local forces clashed with anti-government elements: casualties included 6 police, several civilians and reportedly over 40 Taliban; 4 Canadian soldiers killed in roadside blast 22 April. Earlier 14 militants killed in attacks on checkpoints in Zabul province while 5 Afghan health workers killed in Badghis province. Suspected suicide bombers targeted Italian base in Herat - killing 4 - and U.S. bases at Bagram and in Helmand province. Voting on Cabinet confirmation took place 20 April in lower house of National Assembly. New foreign and defence ministers won vote of confidence in perceived government victory; transport and commerce ministers among 5 rejected.
Opposition alliance protests against fuel and food shortages in northwest violently broken up by police; at least 6 killed 13 April. Awami League (AL)-led alliance also organised general strikes 20 and 23 April to press for electoral reform ahead of January 2007 polls; demonstrators clashed with police and government supporters. Plans for joint government-opposition committee on reforms stalled as AL blocked Islamic Jamaat-e-Islami, major partner of ruling BNP and accused by AL of militant links, from participating. Central Bank fined biggest Sharia lender Islami Bank for wiring money to militant groups. Security forces said had arrested last 2 senior members of Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh, blamed for suicide attacks in 2005.
Preparations underway for fiercely contested 6-13 May general elections; 1,400 troops to be deployed across country to keep peace. Military warned troops would take action if voting turned violent. Former PM Mahendra Chaudhry, ethnic Indian ousted in racially-inspired 2000 coup, seeking return to power with possibility of backlash from indigenous nationalists.
PM Manmohan Singh described Maoist insurgency as country’s most serious internal security threat. 10 police reportedly killed 16 April in Maoist attack in eastern Chhattisgarh state; 11 Maoists killed in clashes with Andhra Pradesh police 28 April. Other incidents included Maoists’ attacks on civilians belonging to state sponsored anti- Maoist Salwa Judum movement. Religious tensions continued with 4 killed in Muslim/Hindu clashes in Aligarh city northern Uttar Pradesh state 6 April and 2 explosions inside Delhi’s Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) 14 April. Police arrested 6 Islamic militants in connection to March Varanasi blasts blamed on Bangladeshi group, Harkatul Jihad-al Islami.
Upsurge in attacks by separatists in first major violence since November 2005. 22 Hindu villagers killed by militants in Doda district 1 May. Wave of Srinagar grenade attacks 14 April and gunbattles in Srinagar and Jammu and Kashmir killed at least 17. Kashmiri radical separatist groups claimed responsibility. Senior opposition politician Ali Mohammad Naik wounded and 2 guards killed 17 April in attack claimed by Islamic Front militants. By-elections held for 4 seats for Jammu and Kashmir state assembly. 3 politicians reportedly killed by insurgents. Indian PM Manmohan Singh to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi early May.
Unrest continued in Papua with 10 April attack on army in Keerom regency blamed on Free Papua Movement rebels; 4 killed. Diplomatic relations soured with Australia as Jakarta accused Canberra of meddling in internal affairs by giving 42 Papuan asylum-seekers temporary visas in March. Parliamentary discussion continued past initial 31 March deadline on draft Law on Government in Aceh - key element of peace process - delaying gubernatorial elections in province. VP Jusuf Kalla said polls, originally scheduled for April, may be held in August if parliament passes bill in May, and asked for EU- led Aceh Monitoring Mission to remain for elections. 2 Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leaders previously in exile, including designated GAM PM Malik Mahmud, in 19 April Aceh visit. Timing of possible execution of 3 Catholics in Central Sulawesi for involvement in Poso conflict remains unclear; Supreme Court formed panel of judges to consider reviewing case. Police raid on house in Central Java 29 April killed 2 accomplices of wanted militant Noordin Top.
Nuclear negotiations remained stalled. Representatives from U.S., China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, meeting at academic conference in Tokyo, failed to extract commitment from North to return to 6-party talks. Washington maintained economic sanctions in response to NK money laundering and counterfeiting and unrelated to nuclear issue. Japan increased pressure over abduction issue, with draft legislation mandating sanctions if Pyongyang withholds information on past kidnappings.
Army intensified offensive against Karen communities near new capital Pyinmana and along Thai border: thousands reportedly displaced. U.S. condemned campaign, saying military regime threat to region. Ruling junta threatened National League for Democracy with dissolution, claiming links to terrorist actions. Series of small blasts targeting Yangon infrastructure 20 April came week after government called exiled pro-democracy groups terrorists. ASEAN ministers agreed to continue policy of engagement despite lack of progress on “roadmap to democracy”, and failure of ASEAN envoy’s March visit.
After 19 days of mass anti-monarchy protests, King Gyanendra agreed to restore parliament for first time since its dissolution in 2002. Move came as king faced mounting pressure from mass protests despite government- imposed curfews and violent clampdown by security forces; at least 16 killed. 6 others killed by army in southeastern Nepal during protests over death of woman allegedly raped and shot by soldiers. Parliament convened 28 April, with veteran Nepali Congress head Girija Prasad Koirala as consensus PM. But several challenges remain, including building peace process with Maoist rebels, who declared 3-month ceasefire following king’s 24 April climbdown, and effecting constitutional change through new constituent assembly (to be now elected).
Security situation continued to deteriorate as at least 57 killed in worst terrorist attack in Karachi’s history: suicide bombing of congregation of Sunnis celebrating Eid Milad festival killed entire leadership of Sunni Tehrik group, as well as many leaders of Jamaat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) - both Barelvi religious parties; JUP also partner in Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal 6-party religious alliance. Responsibility for blast unclear: observers suggested intra-Sunni rivalry, others, Deobandi extremist groups. Pro-Taliban militants attacked paramilitary troops near Miranshah, main town of North Waziristan region 20 April reportedly killing 7.
Relative calm after period of political turmoil. Debate continued over constitutional shift to parliamentary-style government proposed by President Arroyo. Opposition groups sought legislative means to block initiative from reaching nationwide referendum. Police anti-terrorism chief said authorities believe Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has cut ties with Jemaah Islamiyah and dismantled training camps; further talks between government and MILF scheduled early May.
PM Snyder Rini resigned after 8-day tenure marked by violent riots in capital, Honiara. Demonstrators claimed Rini, elected via secret ballot by newly elected members of parliament 18 April, too closely linked to previous tainted administration, and had used money from Taiwanese or Chinese sources - in context of continuing cross- Strait diplomatic battle over recognition of Taiwan - to bribe his win. Riots targeted Chinatown and left large areas in ruins. Government implemented curfew while Australian-led peacekeeping force - bolstered by additional 110 troops - patrolled city to prevent further violence. Curfew lifted 27 April, with new elections due first week May.
Fears of return to full-scale civil war after major upsurge in violence left over 100 dead, and with both government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) threatening immediate retaliation for further attacks. Government launched air strikes against Tamil positions after suicide bomber injured army chief and killed 10 in Colombo 25 April. Bombing followed 2 weeks of violent attacks against civilians and inter-communal rioting between Sinhalese and Tamils. Before suicide bombing, LTTE had “indefinitely postponed” scheduled second round Geneva talks with government, citing violence against Tamil civilians and restrictions on movement of LTTE leaders.
Chinese President Hu Jintao called for talks during visit of former leader of opposition Kuomintang party Lien Chan to Beijing. Lien urged direct cross-Strait flights and boosting of trade. Hu called for Taiwan to return to 1992 “one China” principle. Violence in Solomon Islands blamed partly on continuing battle between Beijing and Taipei for diplomatic recognition.
Political uncertainty continued after 2 April snap elections, while state of emergency renewed in south. PM Thaksin Shinawatra initially claimed victory in polls before “resigning” amid widespread popular protests. Opposition boycotts meant that despite 23 April by-elections, 14 seats remained unfilled in constituencies where single candidates failed to win 20% vote threshold required by constitution. Thaksin handed power to deputy PM Chidchai Wannasathit but remains in parliament and leader of Thai Rak Thai party. King Bhumibol rejected calls from People’s Alliance for Democracy to appoint caretaker PM, but asked courts to resolve crisis: administrative court suspended remaining by- elections 29 April. Southern militants targeted several ballot convoys and polling stations in Narathiwat and Yala on voting days: 3 killed during 19 April Senate election; and 2 killed during 23 April by-election.
Protest against government sacking of 600 soldiers turned violent 28 April, at least 2 killed; was latest in series of demonstrations by troops - many from west of country - claiming discrimination in military.
PM Berisha called on chief state prosecutor to resign, citing failure on corruption cases. U.S. Millennium Challenge fund agreed to donate $13 million to fight corruption.
Government agreed to sell last major thermal power plant to Russia for gas worth $250 million. Opposition criticised deal for increasing dependence on Russia.
President Aliyev met U.S. President Bush 28 April for first time since taking office in 2003. Timing led to speculation visit linked to U.S. policy on Iran, but Aliyev rejected support for possible U.S. military action. Iran suggested Azerbaijan could play mediation role between Washington and Tehran; Aliyev to meet Iranian president 3-4 May. OSCE expressed concern over court decision to hold closed trial in case of 3 opposition youth activists accused of attempting to overthrow government.
Large rally in Bilbao called for greater autonomy and ETA-government negotiations. Spanish PM Zapatero and Basque President Ibarretxe said ETA must maintain ceasefire and end extortion before talks. Government said preliminary investigation into 2 arson attacks in Basque and Navarre regions showed attacks not ordered by ETA. Leader of banned Batasuna party Arnaldo Otegi received 15- month prison sentence and 7-year ban from political office for glorifying terrorism; appeal pending.
EU imposed visa ban on President Lukashenko and 29 senior officials held responsible for electoral misconduct and post-election violent crackdown on opposition. Parliament re-elected Lukashenko-backed PM Syarhey Sidorski 17 April. 7,000 opposition supporters marked Chernobyl disaster anniversary with protest against president. Opposition leaders, including Alexandr Milinkevich, given 15-day sentences after rally, while Alexander Lebedko reportedly detained and beaten by police. Russian gas giant Gazprom threatened to triple prices unless Belarus allows transfer of Beltransgaz distribution company to Gazprom. Senior opposition figure Mikhail Marynich, jailed in 2004, released early.
Constitutional reforms agreed in March failed to get necessary 2/3 majority in parliamentary vote, jeopardising efforts toward EU integration. High Rep. Schwarz-Schilling, in briefing to UN Security Council, stated Bosnia should have full responsibility for own governance, outlining plan for replacement of High Rep. with EU Special Rep. without “Bonn powers” in early 2007.
PM Kadyrov reportedly disbanded personal guard, consisting of thousands of former rebels, 29 April. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres visited Grozny to assess situation. 2 policemen killed in 15 April ambush.
Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders Papadopoulos and Talat agreed to meet at next Committee of Missing Persons but did not commit to holding talks. Long-awaited Turkish Cypriot census held 30 April. Greek Cypriot elections due 21 May.
Bilateral relations with Moscow strained by Russian ban on Georgian (and Moldovan) wine and brandy. Moscow cited consumer safety, but Tbilisi condemned move as political. Parliament ratified bilateral agreement on Russian military base withdrawal 13 April. 37 opposition MPs began boycott of parliament 1 April, demanding changes to new election code to give more autonomy to local government and dismissal of interior minister; ruling party rejected conditions.
Government blocked opposition leaders Galymzhan Zhaqiyanov and Bulat Abilov from travelling to EU to meet officials. Justice ministry rejected appeal by opposition Alga party after its request for registration denied in February. National Security Committee claimed had uncovered religious extremist plot on country’s infrastructure.
Third round of talks on decentralisation ended 3 April with no agreement; fourth round due 4 May to discuss numbers and borders of new Serb-majority municipalities and divided Mitrovica; Kosovo Albanian team reportedly preparing bold concessions. EU established planning team to ensure smooth transition from UNMIK to proposed EU crisis management mission on rule of law and police matters. PM Ceku promised to tackle corruption after warnings could stymie independence; some ministers rumoured for dismissal. Ceku visited village along border with Macedonia, promising residents would renegotiate 2001 Belgrade/Skopje border agreement. Macedonia has insisted demarcation of existing frontier be condition of final status.
President Bakiyev came under increasing pressure to deal with crime and corruption after prominent pro-democracy activist Edil Baisalov seriously injured in attack by unknown assailant. Baisalov had organised demonstration against criminalisation of politics ahead of 9 April parliamentary by-elections in which alleged organised crime bosses were candidates, including Ryspek Akmatbayev (who won despite questions over legality of his candidacy). Alliance of opposition politicians and NGOs issued 18 April ultimatum to president to tackle problems or resign. 29 April opposition rally ended peacefully after Bakiyev unexpectedly addressed crowd and appealed for patience. President threatened closure of U.S. Manas airbase if new agreement on rent payments not reached by June.
Talks with EU held in Luxembourg: EU officials told PM Vasile Tarlev membership hopes premature and urged government to focus on essential reforms. International mediators agreed to restart negotiations over disputed Transdniestria in May. Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov said Ukraine’s new March customs regulations, which he charged amounted to economic blockade, rendered Ukrainian President Yushchenko’s peace plans for breakaway region obsolete. OSCE criticised Transdniestrian 21 April seizure of Varnita port; Joint Control Commission failed to resolve dispute over port’s status.
Campaign ahead of 21 May independence referendum continued amid charges of fraud on both sides, as pro-unionist member of electoral commission arrested for falsifying voter registration forms; later released. Pro-union forces hinted at boycott as polls showed pro-independence forces will probably receive required 55% of votes.
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen visited Yerevan and Baku in attempt to organise summer meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. Armenian-backed forces in N-K held week-long military exercises, protested by Azerbaijan. 1 Azerbaijani soldier killed near line of contact 3 April.
Parliamentary elections set for 5 July. Parliament approved members of State Election Commission (SEC) 20 April, despite concerns over strong party links of nominees; EU warned SEC must satisfy EU standards of independence. Defence minister announced end to conscription in plans to professionalise army with view to NATO membership. Macedonia continued to insist demarcation of frontier with Kosovo in accordance with 2001 agreement with Belgrade be condition of Kosovo final status, as Kosovo PM Ceku made provocative visit to disputed area.
British and Irish PMs unveiled blueprint 6 April aimed at restoring devolution. Plan reconvenes Stormont Assembly 15 May but stipulates unless multi-party government formed by 24 November, Assembly will be suspended and members’ salaries discontinued. Democratic Unionist Party participated for first time in British-Irish Parliamentary Body after 16-year boycott. Denis Donaldson, former Sinn Fein official who admitted spying for British government, murdered in County Donegal; Sinn Fein and IRA denied involvement.
At least 6 police and 3 militants reported dead in clashes in Daghestan. Russian forces claimed leader of Islamist Shariat Jamaat group also killed. Police opened fire on protestors trying to seize village building in effort to force resignation of local administration in Usukhchai, Daghestan, leaving 1 dead. Bomb in Ingushetian capital Nazran killed 1.
Parliament passed law permitting civil courts and police to enforce church court decisions: OSCE and Council of Europe protested. Police closed popular BK TV station in midnight raid. Government controversially dissolved municipal assembly of Bosniak majority Novi Pazar in attempt to prevent recall vote of Mayor Sulejman Ugljanin; 4 bombs exploded in Novi Pazar. In protest Human and Minority Rights Minister Rasim Ljajic resigned as president of South Serbia Coordination Body, leaving Presevo Valley Albanians with no institutional channel for resolving grievances. Over Albanian objections, Serbian government called local elections in Presevo Valley for 4 June. Second round of Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations held with EU: next round in May looked unlikely as 30 April EU deadline for arrest of war crimes suspect Mladic elapsed. Parliament passed law freezing assets of fugitive war crimes suspects 7 April.
President Rakhmonov said ministries becoming “mafia clans” and urged officials to declare assets to avoid confiscation.