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CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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.

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May 2022

Africa

Burkina Faso

Jihadists launched deadliest attack in months in East region and violence spread to previously unaffected towns, notably in Boucle du Mouhoun region; transitional govt faced criticism particularly over human rights record. In East region, presumed Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 14 May ambushed civilian convoy in Kompienga province, killing 14 civilians and three VDPs; 19 May took control of Madjoari military camp (also Kompienga), killing 11 soldiers; 25 May launched deadliest attack in months, killing over 50 people near Madjoari village. Severe insecurity persisted in Sahel region (north): JNIM 7 May killed at least nine volunteers fighting alongside security forces and two civilians in ambush near Bambofa village (Seno province); suspected jihadists 13-14 May killed 13 volunteer fighters and at least 13 civilians in Guessel and Salmossi communes (Oudalan province). Also in Sahel, armed forces operation 26 May reportedly killed 12 jihadists, including local commander, in Tongomayel commune (Soum province). In Centre-North region, encounter between presumed JNIM militants and gendarmes 5 May left five gendarmes and eight militants dead in Ouanobian village (Sanmatenga province); unidentified jihadists next day killed three volunteer fighters in Boroum village (Namentenga province). In North region, presumed JNIM militants 5 May killed three soldiers, four volunteer fighters and two civilians in ambush in Loroum province. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), presumed JNIM militants 7-8 May attacked prison in Nouna town (Kossi province), freeing over 60 prisoners; govt forces claimed killing 40 JNIM militants 9 May after group ambushed them in Barani area, Kossi province. Meanwhile, thousands 1 May reportedly protested in capital Ouagadougou, denounced ruling junta’s ineffectiveness and encroachment on civil liberties. NGO Human Rights Watch 16 May reported govt forces and allied volunteer fighters committed 42 summary killings and 14 enforced disappearances between Sept 2021 and April 2022. Amid tensions over transition duration, West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 17 May sent mission to country to assess security situation in response to transitional govt’s late April request.

Mali

Transitional authorities continued to break off ties with traditional allies, negotiations with regional bloc ECOWAS over transition duration remained stalled, and jihadist violence decreased slightly across country. After deteriorating relations with Paris late April took inflammatory turn, govt 2 May withdrew from defence agreements signed with France, including those regulating Barkhane and Takuba forces. Govt 15 May announced withdrawal from regional G5 Sahel organisation, stated other members blocked Bamako from assuming rotating presidency in Feb under pressure from “extra-regional” state. Amid uncertainty over UN mission MINUSMA’s future, including mission’s ability to operate in context of Bamako’s growing hostility and absent Barkhane support, UN Sec Gen António Guterres 6 May called for mission’s mandate renewal in June and Germany 11 May announced increase of its MINUSMA personnel by 300 elements. As negotiations with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over transition duration remained stalled, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé 4 May accepted Bamako’s request to facilitate negotiations with international community, including ECOWAS. Meanwhile, rapprochement with Russia continued. FM Abdoulaye Diop 20 May met in Russia’s capital Moscow with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who announced further political, economic and security cooperation with Mali. Transitional govt faced domestic discontent. Dozens 10 May demonstrated in capital Bamako against “dictatorial regime”; counter-protest 13 May drew thousands in capital in support of transitional authorities. Influential imam Mahmoud Dicko 26 May criticised interim authorities’ “arrogance”. Govt 16 May said it had foiled coup plot night of 11-12 May, blamed Western-supported military personnel; next day arrested several military officers, including at least one colonel. Violence slightly decreased across country. Army 9 May announced recent operations in Mopti, Koulikoro, Ségou and Sikasso regions killed at least 56 jihadists; mid-month reported killing dozens of suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam militants in Mopti’s Douentza district. Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 14 May killed five members of 2015 Algiers peace agreement signatory group Imghad Tuareg Self-Defence Group and Allies (GATIA) in Anchawadi commune (Gao region). Unidentified assailants 19 May abducted three Italians and a Togolese in Sincina locality (Sikasso region in south).

Niger

Security forces kept up pressure on jihadist militants in south east and south west; President Bazoum reiterated commitment to security partnership with France despite vocal opposition. Nigerien military and regional allies continued security operations in Diffa region (south east). Notably, Nigerien elements of Multinational Joint Task Force 7 May killed ten members of Boko Haram in airstrike in N’Guigmi department. Govt 25 May said army previous night killed around 40 Boko Haram elements in fighting on Lake Chad islands in and around Diffa department. Meanwhile, jihadist violence persisted in Tillabery region (south west). Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 4 May publicly executed civilian for unknown reason in Kokoloukou village (Torodi department); suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants killed civilian in Firaw Koira village (Tera department); IED allegedly planted by ISGS 12 May killed two civilians in Sakoira commune (Tillabery department); and JNIM militants next day killed five people, including village chief, in Bolsi town (Torodi department). Also in Tillabery, army 24 May reported killing 65 jihadists in recent days in Torodi and Gotheye areas. Amid increasingly vocal opposition to redeployment of French Barkhane forces in Niger, President Bazoum 17 May met with French Ambassador to Niger Alexandre Garcia in capital Niamey, reaffirmed ties with France. In interview with French media outlet La Croix, Bazoum next day called for deeper and more effective Western involvement to combat jihadist groups in Sahel region. UN Sec Gen António Guterres 2-3 May visited Niger, met with Bazoum and called on international community to invest more in training and equipment for Nigerien army. After Court of Auditors in April pointed to dysfunctions and irregularities in conduct of govt operations, Nigerien Network for Budgetary Transparency and Analysis and other NGOs 11 May filed legal complaint over alleged loss of FCFA63bn (€95,7mn) in state funds due to embezzlement in recent years.

Cameroon

Anglophone separatists stepped up attacks on govt forces ahead of National Day, President Biya’s health sparked concerns, and Boko Haram violence continued in far north. Anglophone armed groups increased violent attacks in lead-up to 20 May National Day – which they see as key anniversary marking start of conflict when constitutional referendum abrogated West Cameroon (Anglophone) and East Cameroon (Francophone) federal states in 1972. Notably, separatists 4 May announced dusk-till-dawn travel bans on roads with surprise blockades in Meme and Manyu divisions (South West, SW); 9 May killed two Cameroonian soldiers in Jakiri town (North West, NW); 9 May killed two gendarmes through mine explosive in Alou town, Lebialem division (SW), and at least three soldiers through IED in Belo town (NW); 11 May killed two gendarmes and one soldier in Fonfuka town (NW); 20 May clashed with soldiers leaving unknown number of casualties in Ngoketunjia department division (NW); 22 May clashed with soldiers in Otou locality (SW) near Nigerian border, which left two soldiers wounded and at least four separatists dead. In Idenau locality (SW), alleged separatists 17 May also kidnapped 19 CDC plantation workers; army next day reportedly freed workers. Armed separatists 29 May clashed with civilians killing at least ten and wounding about a dozen others in Obonyi II village, Akwaya town (SW) near border with Nigeria. Army 30 May freed Senator Regina Mundi from armed separatist camp in Batibo (NW); both sides gave contradictory accounts of her release. President Paul Biya 19 May returned to capital Yaoundé after five-day private trip to Switzerland. Biya 20 May presided over National Day parade; likely concerned that public images of frail president could stir public opinion, national TV cut some scenes from broadcast. Hundreds of indigenous people 24 May protested against govt-ordered demolitions to make way for major hotel project in Douala city’s Dikolo neighbourhood. In Far North region, Boko Haram violence continued. Notably, insurgents 11 May left three civilians seriously injured in Moskata locality; 21 May killed civilian in Amchide locality near Nigerian border; 31 May killed at least three soldiers and four civilians in Hitaoua locality.

Central African Republic

Violence between armed forces and rebel groups continued to run high, state of public finances raised alarm, and Bangui adopted Bitcoin as legal currency. Confrontations between army and armed groups continued at high intensity. Notably, army 8 May murdered civil servant and member of Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic (FPRC) rebel group and clashed with gunmen, leaving three dead in Ndélé town (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, centre). Clashes between army and rebel Union for Peace in CAR (UPC) 9 May left 14 dead including civilian in Bokolobo municipality (Ouaka prefecture, east), 12 May killed at least one soldier and six UPC rebels in Bokolobo (Ouaka). UPC leader 13 May claimed army, Wagner mercenaries and anti-balaka militia 9 May killed over 30 Fulani civilians in Bokolobo municipality (Ouaka). National army suffered significant losses this month. Two deadly clashes with UPC and FPRC killed five soldiers 11 May in Ouadda (Haute-Kotto) and eight soldiers 21 May in Nzako (Mbomou prefecture, south east). NGO Human Rights Watch 3 May published report accusing armed forces and Russian paramilitary of “serious human rights abuses” since 2019. Finance minister 3 May announced 40-60% cuts in ministerial budgets, citing alarming state of public finances; concerns mounted that govt may not be able to pay civil servants’ and military personnel’s salaries as early as July 2022 (with Jan 2023 tipping point), which could trigger social uprisings and lead soldiers to rise up or join rebellion. After Bangui’s 26 April adoption of Bitcoin as legal currency alongside CFA franc, Economic Monetary Community of Central Africa 6 May reminded that the use of cryptocurrencies is banned. Food security in CAR remained of concern throughout month after Cameroon late April suspended all exportations of key consumable goods, including rice, wheat flour and cereals. Parliamentary majority 26 May presented draft bill amending constitution to allow number of presidential mandates to go beyond two terms, paving way for third term for President Touadéra. Bangui’s Criminal Court 16-17 May held trial hearing against 82 members of Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebel coalition, including Gen Ludovic Ngaifei (former armed forces chief of staff) and Dieudonné Ndomaté (former minister and leader of anti-balaka faction); authorities 27 May acquitted Ndomaté, along with fifteen co-defendants.

Chad

Authorities postponed national dialogue indefinitely, anti-French protests turned violent in capital N’djamena and farmer-herder conflict left several dead in Moyen-Chari region. Cherif Mahamat Zene 1 May postponed national dialogue initially set for 10 May to allow armed groups reunited in Qatar’s capital Doha to reach pre-dialogue agreement; transitional authorities 6 May presented draft agreement to rebel groups. Move to delay national dialogue raised fears Transitional Military Council (CMT) might try to extend 18-month transition roadmap: major trade union Union des Syndicats du Tchad (UST) 1 May accused govt of not respecting social pact and country’s Bishops 2 May declared CMT’s promises had not engendered any improvements. Opposition coalition Wakit Tama 6 May condemned transitional govt’s “failure” to organise dialogue, called for countrywide protest. Hundreds 14 May gathered in capital N’Djamena and other cities to protest against transitional authorities and French involvement in Chadian politics; protesters reportedly attacked twelve gas stations from French company Total and other monuments, burnt French flag and raised Russian flag on top of some buildings. Authorities same day arrested five Wakit Tama leaders on vandalism charges, 16 May apprehended lawyer and Wakit Tama spokesperson Max Loalngar; trial set for 6 June. Order of lawyers 17 May went on strike to protest opposition leaders’ arrest; rebel groups in Doha 21 May demanded govt free Wakit Tama leaders (currently on hunger strike), claiming it was transitional authorities’ responsibility to ensure security around protest. As authorities did not authorise it, Wakit Tama cancelled march planned for 28 May. Meanwhile, intercommunal tensions flared in several localities. In Danamadjé locality (Grande Sido department, Moyen-Chari region), herder 15 May killed farmer and police same day fired on crowd gathered to seek revenge, which left four killed and dozen injured. In Kouri Bougoudi (Tibesti region), dispute involving local gold panners 24 May degenerated into intercommunal clashes involving Libyan fighters; incident left hundreds killed.

Burundi

Court sentenced a dozen opposition members to 15-year imprisonment, and military operations against rebels in eastern DR Congo continued. Harassment of political opposition continued. Ngozi tribunal 10 May sentenced 16 members of main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL) to 15 years in prison on charges of “attempted murder” following late-April clashes with ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure in Ngozi province. NGO Human Rights Watch 18 May alleged Burundian intelligence services, police and ruling party members continue committing large-scale abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention against political opponents, notably CNL members. Hundreds of Imbonerakure 15-22 May reportedly gathered at Vyizigiro stadium in Rumonge province to receive paramilitary training, potentially as part of new govt campaign to create military reserve force. Meanwhile, locals found bodies in Cibitoke province. Notably, forest guards 1 May found five bodies wearing Congolese army uniforms in Bukinanyana municipality; locals 8 May discovered bodies of three Rwandan rebels and one Burundian soldier in Mabayi commune. Country throughout month experienced nation-wide fuel shortage, particularly affecting public transport in major cities. In DR Congo’s South Kivu province, Congolese army 1 May clashed with Burundian soldiers and Imbonerakure allegedly trying to repatriate individuals wounded in fight against RED-Tabara (Tutsi-led group that opposes Burundi’s Hutu-dominated govt). President Ndayishimiye 10 May said he would welcome dialogue with RED-Tabara rebels should group ask for negotiations.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Regional tensions rose as Kinshasa accused Rwanda of backing M23 militia in East, CODECO rebel group killed scores in Ituri province, and approval of new electoral law sparked tensions. In North Kivu province, clashes 19 April erupted between M23 and army in Rutshuru territory, 25 May spread to Kibumba area (Nyiragongo territory), 20km north of North Kivu’s capital Goma, with rebels occupying several areas; M23 next day attacked Rumangabo military camp in Rutshuru territory. Kinshasa 25 May accused Rwanda of supporting M23; 28 May suspended all flights of Rwandan national airline RwandAir to DR Congo, designated M23 as terrorist group and excluded it from Nairobi process talks, which President Tshisekedi and regional leaders late April had initiated with 18 armed groups active in east, following resumption of M23 attacks. In Ituri province, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebels launched several deadly attacks on civilians. Notably, CODECO 8 May killed about 60 civilians, mostly artisanal miners, near Mongwalu locality in gold-rich Banyali Kilo area, Djugu territory; next day attacked Loddha site for internally displaced persons near Fataki town, also Djugu, killing 15 people; 15 May also killed at least nine civilians at Kambi mine in Shaba village, Aru territory. Also in Ituri, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels around 11-12 May killed at least 30 civilians in Idohu village of Walese Vokutu chiefdom, Irumu territory. Uganda 17 May said troops deployed in eastern Congo in late 2021 to combat ADF would withdraw as planned on 31 May, later hinted at possible six-month extension; Kinshasa deemed retreat “premature” and called for talks, which reportedly started in late May. Meanwhile, former PM under President Kabila, Senator Augustin Matata Ponyo, 3 May announced presidential bid. Dieudonné Kaluba, president of Constitutional Court, which in late 2021 ruled it had no jurisdiction to try Matata over alleged embezzlement, relieved from duties same day. National Assembly, dominated by ruling Sacred Union coalition, 12 May adopted electoral law, rejecting multiple progressive reforms including guarantees against vote-buying and nepotism and measures to foster gender equality. Some opposition lawmakers, including from Kabila’s party, boycotted debates and vote.

Rwanda

Tensions ran high as Kigali and Kinshasa accused each other of supporting rebels in Great Lakes region. Authorities 23 May said Congolese military same day injured several Rwandan civilians in cross-border shelling in Musanze district (north), called for “urgent investigation” into incident by Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism – group of military experts from International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Kinshasa 25 May accused Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels amid fighting between group and Congolese army in DR Congo’s North Kivu province (see DR Congo); Kigali next day denied claim. Congolese govt 28 May summoned Rwandan ambassador to Kinshasa, suspended all Rwandan national airline RwandAir flights to Congo. Congolese military 29 May claimed detaining two Rwandan soldiers in North Kivu; Kigali same day said Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels with support of Congolese army had kidnapped the two soldiers in border area; Congolese army immediately rejected claim. African Union (AU) chair, Senegalese President Macky Sall, 29 May called for dialogue between Rwanda and DR Congo. Meanwhile, Rwanda and Uganda mid-May signed agreement on military cooperation in bid to mend relations. Delegation of Rwandan soldiers and police officers 27 May travelled to Uganda to participate in 12th East African Community Armed Forces Field Training Exercise.

Uganda

Controversies over President Museveni’s son’s alleged political ambitions continued and protests over rising commodity prices erupted. Commander of Land Forces and President Museveni’s son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba 2 May signalled presidential ambition in tweet saying he would “announce our political programme soon”. Member of Ugandan Law Society, Gawaya Tegulle, 6 May sued Kainerugaba – along with Chief of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Gen Wilson Mbadi and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka – for violating constitutional ban on serving members of army engaging in political activities; Constitutional Court 9 May summoned defendants. Police 12 May placed opposition figure Kizza Besigye under house arrest in Kasangati town, Central Region, to prevent planned protest over skyrocketing commodity prices. In rare criticism of security forces by ruling party leader, Parliament Speaker Anita Among 17 May condemned brutal manner of arrest. Police 18 May withdrew from Besigye’s home, but 24 May arrested him as he addressed protest against soaring prices in capital Kampala; authorities next day charged Besigye with inciting violence. Security forces 3o May also detained six women protesting Besigye’s detention in Kampala. Museveni 22 May affirmed govt would not intervene to address commodity prices, including introducing food and fuel subsidies, despite fuel prices having risen nearly 20% in 2022. Kainerugaba 17 May said joint operation in eastern DR Congo would end as planned on 31 May before walking back statement to say future of operation depends on countries’ leaders; Congolese govt said withdrawal was “premature” and called for talks, which reportedly started in late May (see DR Congo). Uganda and Tanzania 6 May signed defence and security agreement paving way for intelligence sharing to ease protection of East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline traversing two countries.

Eritrea

Fighting between govt troops and Tigray forces erupted along Eritrea-Ethiopia border; Asmara continued diplomatic efforts to build alliances. Clashes between Tigray and Eritrean forces reported 8 May near Badme and Rama border areas, which Asmara has largely controlled since Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict started in Nov 2020; Eritrea 11 May reportedly started to strengthen positions in border areas by relocating some units from Western Tigray. Asmara 17 May said Tigray forces were advancing toward Eritrea with “support and blessing from the West”, vowed to defend Eritrean territory. Eritrean forces 28-29 May allegedly shelled Sheraro town in Tigray, killing one child and wounding 18 people; Tigray authorities 30 May claimed they had repelled Eritrean offensive launched 24 May, killing or wounding over 300 Eritrean soldiers including four commanders. Amid cooling relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia since latter declared ceasefire in Tigray in March, and Asmara’s ally President Farmajo’s electoral defeat in Somalia, isolated Eritrea increasingly sought to build new alliances. FM Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab early May led high-level delegation to South Sudan, meeting with President Salva Kiir 5 May and holding talks with Presidential Security Adviser Tut Gatluak next day. Same delegation 9 May met with Chad’s Transitional Military Council leader Mahamat Idriss Déby in N’Djamena.

Ethiopia

Despite signs of renewed hostilities, Tigray leadership announced mass prisoner release in alleged bid to advance peace, and aid deliveries to Tigray significantly increased; authorities carried out mass arrests in Amhara region. Federal forces from early May reportedly increased presence in Western Tigray and ordered Amhara forces to vacate occupied area; westward movements of Tigray forces also reported. Meanwhile, clashes between Tigray and Eritrean forces 8 May erupted in Badme and Rama border areas, compelling Eritrea to relocate some forces stationed in Western Tigray starting 11 May; Eritrean forces 28-29 May allegedly shelled Sheraro town in Tigray, killing one child and wounding 18 people; Tigray authorities 30 May claimed they had repelled Eritrean offensive launched 24 May, killing or wounding over 300 Eritrean soldiers including four commanders. Meanwhile, Tigray leadership 20 May announced release of over 4,200 “prisoners of war” in hope that such “confidence building measures” might lead to “peaceful resolution” of conflict; federal govt 22 May claimed releasees were captured civilians, not soldiers. Meanwhile, assistance to region increased significantly. World Food Programme 20 May said 319 trucks of humanitarian aid had entered Tigray during week of 10-16 May; biggest convoy of aid since March ceasefire, consisting of 215 trucks, 27 May reportedly departed Afar region for Tigray. As part of crackdown against militia fighters, federal and allied Amhara authorities 23 May announced arrests of over 4,500 people in Amhara; detainees included former Amhara special forces commander Tefera Mamo, over 200 people suspected of colluding with Amhara militias known as Fano, and at least 19 media personnel; state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission 22 May said some arrests did not follow “basic human rights principles”. In Oromia region, conflict continued between federal and regional forces, and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in West Arsi, West Hararghe, Guji, West Shewa and North Shewa zones; at least 30 civilians killed during month. OLA 18 May claimed attack on military camp in Sululta town, 13km from capital Addis Ababa, said 16 soldiers killed. Military 21 May said it killed 44 OLA rebels and captured five in Worejarso district of North Shewa Zone.

Kenya

Top presidential candidates picked running mates and authorities declared 30-day curfew in volatile Marsabit and Isiolo counties. Deputy President William Ruto 15 May chose MP Rigathi Gachagua as running mate for August presidential election, while Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga next day picked former Justice Minister Martha Karua, first woman candidate on major presidential ticket; Gachagua and Karua are both ethnic Kikuyus and are hoped to bring votes from populous Mount Kenya region. Latest Trends and Insights for Africa opinion poll released 18 May placed Odinga-Karua ticket ahead with 39% of votes compared to Ruto-Gachagua’s 35%; 14% of sample remained undecided. Campaign officially launched 29 May. Amid communal tensions over resources and land, compounded by prolonged drought, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i 2 May announced 30-day curfew in parts of Marsabit and Isiolo counties and deployment of security forces to crack down on illegal firearms; said security operation will also target rebel group Oromo Liberation Front militants, who reportedly uses Marsabit county as rear base for operations in neighbouring Ethiopia, and alleged criminals hiding in mines in Kom area of Isiolo county. Police 25 May reportedly recovered firearms and ammunition and arrested nine suspected members of “militia group” in Kom area; next day reportedly arrested four individuals and recovered weapons in Harondel and Bubisa areas in Marsabit county. In Turkana county (north west), suspected bandits 1 May attacked minibus in Kainuk town, injuring nine.

Somalia

Prolonged electoral cycle concluded with presidential election and peaceful transfer of power; Al-Shabaab launched largest attack on African Union mission since 2019. Presidential vote, 15 months overdue, unfolded smoothly after contentious run-up. Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud 15 May won presidential contest after defeating incumbent President Farmajo in third round of vote held in capital Mogadishu. Farmajo next day conceded defeat and congratulated Mohamud, urging support for incoming administration. Handover ceremony from Farmajo to Mohamud held 23 May in Mogadishu; UN Sec-Gen’s Special Representative for Somalia James Swan same day hailed peaceful transfer of power. In run-up to vote, unrest within member states pointed to high levels of discontent emerging from electoral cycle. After parallel elections in Gedo region in April resulted in two sets of MPs – one elected in Ceel Waaq city and politically aligned with Jubaland administration, and another elected in Garbaharey city and aligned with Farmajo administration – new Lower House Speaker Adan Madobe 7 May certified those from Ceel Waaq. Meanwhile, Puntland VP Ahmed Karash late April-early May replaced state officials and ministers close to Puntland President Said Deni, who had travelled to Mogadishu to run for president. In Galmudug state, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (ASWJ) militia fighters 13 May entered state capital Dhusamareb, clashing with state forces; ASWJ subsequently retreated, with local reports claiming up to 12 killed on both sides. Al-Shabaab 3 May launched large-scale offensive against AU Transition Mission (ATMIS) base in Ceel Baraf village, Middle Shabelle region, killing at least 30 Burundian peacekeepers; militants remained in control of outpost until 17 May. Al-Shabaab 15 May launched mortar attack on presidential election venue in Mogadishu, leaving no casualties. Meanwhile, U.S. administration 16 May announced it will return approximately 450 troops to Somalia, reversing his predecessor Donald Trump’s 2020 decision.

Somaliland

Dispute over timing of upcoming electoral cycle remained unresolved. President Bihi 9 May reiterated commitment to hold presidential election in Nov and said he would engage in consultations with other political stakeholders to address any arising challenges. Main opposition leader Abdirahman Irro next day warned he will stop recognising Bihi as president if election is postponed, vowed to confront any effort aimed at delaying vote and accused Bihi of interfering with electoral commission. Amid persisting disagreement over timetable for registration of political parties, new political association Barwaqo launched 7 May. Govt’s external engagements continued. Notably, Bihi 12 May met with U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Larry André and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander Gen Stephen Townsend in capital Hargeisa.

South Sudan

Cattle-related violence increased in Eastern Equatoria state and persisted in Unity state; security situation remained precarious in Abyei Administrative Area. Cattle-related violence surged in Eastern Equatoria state amid presence of ethnic Dinka herders from neighbouring Jonglei state. Notably, cattle raid 10 May reportedly left at least 20 people killed in Nimule locality, Magwi county. Following 14-15 May grassroots discussions with host community leaders, herders started moving back to Jonglei. In Jonglei state, attack by suspected cattle raiders from Pibor Administrative Area on cattle camp near Duk Padiet town 4 May left at least 13 people killed. UN mission in South Sudan 6 May said April outbreak of internecine fighting in southern Unity state’s Leer county left 181 people killed and 40,000 displaced. Renewed violence erupted as suspected armed youths from Unity state’s Mayendit and Koch counties 15-16 May launched cattle raids in Leer county; 28 people killed and 30 wounded. In Warrap state, Gogrial East county authorities 10 May said clashes between locals and youths from Unity state’s Mayom county 7-8 May left 21 dead and 22 injured in Gamdhang village. Meanwhile, fresh fighting reported 8-9 May between Ngok Dinka from Abyei Administrative Area (disputed between Sudan and South Sudan) and Twic Dinka from Warrap state in Malual-Aleu area in Abyei and several villages of Warrap state; several people reportedly killed. Following increased violence in Abyei area over past months, UN Security Council 12 May renewed mandate of UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for six months; govt next day urged UNISFA to stabilise Abyei, threatened to deploy govt forces in area, a move that would likely lead to tensions with Sudan. During UNISFA-facilitated peace conference in Uganda between Dinka Ngok and Misseriya communities involved in Abyei conflict, community leaders 19 May signed peace accord. UN Security Council 26 May renewed arms embargo on South Sudan, as well as targeted sanctions including travel bans and asset freeze against individuals and entities for one year.

Sudan

As tripartite initiative aimed at fostering intra-Sudanese talks on restoring civilian-led transition began slowly, authorities lifted state of emergency and released some prisoners; repression of protests continued and insecurity persisted in several areas. UN mission in Sudan, African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development 12 May launched indirect intra-Sudanese talks with view to establishing common grounds between parties. Tripartite mechanism officials in following days held informal meetings with parties to 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, civil society organisations and political groups, including factions of political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change. AU Special Envoy Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt 13 May said military-civilian talks would follow at later stage. Meanwhile, Coordinating Committee of Khartoum state’s Resistance Committees 11 May adopted charter calling for peaceful overthrow of military, rejecting 2019 Constitutional Declaration and any talks with military, including within tripartite mechanism framework; 15 May however held informal talks with mechanism officials. Anti-coup protesters throughout month continued to face security forces crackdown, reportedly leaving at least five killed and over 200 wounded in capital Khartoum and other cities. Sovereign Council 29 May lifted state of emergency imposed after Oct 2021 coup, citing need to create atmosphere conducive to “fruitful and meaningful dialogue”; authorities next day released dozens of political prisoners. Violence early May subsided in West Darfur after deadly clashes late April in Kreinik and El Geneina areas reportedly displaced tens of thousands. In South Darfur state, unidentified gunmen 7 May reportedly killed three in Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs); 12 May reportedly killed one in Otash IDP camp in state capital Nyala. Following increased violence over past months in Abyei area disputed between Sudan and South Sudan, UN Security Council 12 May renewed mandate of UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for six months; during UNISFA-facilitated peace conference in Uganda between Dinka Ngok and Misseriya communities involved in Abyei conflict, community leaders 19 May signed peace accord. Meanwhile, alleged Ethiopian gunmen 16, 18 May reportedly killed three Sudanese farmers in cross-border attacks near Qalabat village in Gedaref state. Tribal clashes 23 May reportedly killed three in Kassala state, next day allegedly killed at least six in West Kordofan state.

Tanzania

Ruling party and opposition held roundtable discussion as part of President Suluhu Hassan’s appeasement policy. Hassan 9 May held talks with main opposition party Chadema Chairman Freeman Mbowe in Dar es Salaam city for second time this year; Hassan allegedly requested meeting between Chadema and ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party to set foundations for political dialogue on Chadema’s demands, including drafting of new constitution and creation of independent electoral commission. Hassan 20 May chaired first roundtable discussion between CCM and Chadema leaders in capital Dodoma. Meanwhile, Hassan 3 May ordered review of media law to “protect journalists and open more space for the freedom of expression and the media”. Tanzania and Uganda 6 May signed defence and security agreement, committing to intelligence sharing to ease protection of East African Crude Oil Pipeline project and strengthen regional security.

Mozambique

Sustained attacks across far north Cabo Delgado province showed continued struggle to contain Islamist insurgency; militants targeted food supplies as hunger precipitated surrenders. Islamist militants early May launched series of attacks in Nangade district: one person killed and three wounded 1 May in and around Litingina town; several people reportedly beheaded 3 May in Muhia village near Tanzanian border and several others captured 8 May in fields around Rovuma village; food raid reported 10 May in Nova Familia village. Amid violence, Nangade-Mueda road temporarily closed 1 May, leaving Nangade town cut off from supplies. In Palma district, insurgents 6 May attacked Olumbe village, notably targeting foodstuffs; unconfirmed reports said joint Rwandan and Mozambican forces killed 20 insurgents while three Mozambican soldiers were also killed. Small squads of insurgents 17 May reportedly launched food raids on Palma’s Quifuque island. Meanwhile, Islamic State (ISIS) 9 May claimed killing three Mozambican soldiers in 7 May raid on Quiterajo military base in Macomia district, for first time attributing attack to “Mozambique Province”. Violence from mid-May intensified in Macomia as militants allegedly tried to make their way to Minhanha zone of Meluco district. Local sources reported insurgents 20 May beheaded between two and six people near Nova Zambézia and Nkoe villages north of Macomia town; ISIS 23 May claimed attacks, said four Mozambican soldiers killed, next day said militants 21 May also killed three people in nearby Nguida village. In Meluco district, suspected militants 26 May ambushed health officials near Muaguide village, leaving one missing, and ISIS 26 and 29 May claimed attacks on Pitolha and Namituco villages. Dozens of insurgents throughout month reportedly surrendered to authorities amid lack of food, including around 70 in Nangade district 15-17 May and 40 in Macomia district 17 May; others reportedly surrendered in Ibo and Muidumbe districts. Hunger also prompted insurgents to release captives, including three men and two women who arrived in Nangade town 7 May. Amid minimal return of displaced people in Cabo Delgado, authorities 12 May reported 3,700 people displaced by violence in late 2021 have returned to their home villages in neighbouring Niassa province.

Zimbabwe

Ruling party continued to use inflammatory rhetoric against opposition ahead of 2023 general elections; amid hyperinflation, freeze on bank lending prompted harsh opposition, forcing govt to backpedal. Opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa 1 May denied being in talks with President Mnangagwa with view to forming govt of national unity; statement came days after top presidential aide George Charamba claimed Chamisa wanted to defer elections currently scheduled for 2023 and join hands with “cross-party elites” in “pact of dictatorship”. Ruling party ZANU-PF Finance Secretary Patrick Chinamasa 16 May accused CCC leaders of working with U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, warned voting for CCC in 2023 elections would bring “war and instability”. CCC 7 May won seven of eight local council by-elections against ZANU-PF. Head of EU electoral mission in Zimbabwe, Elmar Brok, 20 May called for “genuine” electoral reforms ahead of 2023 poll to level electoral playing field. Meanwhile, Mnangagwa 7 May ordered banks to suspend lending services indefinitely in effort to curb speculation against rapidly devaluing local currency. Stakeholders in business sector, including Chamber of Commerce and Industry 9 May, harshly criticised move, warned it would encourage development of parallel banking system and jeopardise economic recovery. Central bank 10 May said bank lending freeze was temporary measure, 17 May lifted ban.

Côte d’Ivoire

National Assembly speaker died in office, while West African bloc ECOWAS top military brass discussed expansion of jihadist threat toward Gulf of Guinea countries. National Assembly Speaker Amadou Soumahoro, close ally of President Ouattara, died 7 May; MPs 9 May selected most senior National Assembly VP Aminata Toungara to serve as acting speaker until election of new speaker on 7 June. Netherlands-based Charles Blé Goudé, youth minister under former President Gbagbo, 30 May recovered his passport from Ivorian authorities more than a year after his acquittal of crimes against humanity by International Criminal Court (ICC), vowed to return to Côte d’Ivoire. Chiefs of Defence Staff from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states 5-6 May met in Ghana’s capital Accra to discuss strategies against roving Sahelian jihadist militants, recommended to step up operational and logistical capacity of “frontline countries” in Sahel region and provide them with financial support to conduct joint military operations to contain jihadist attacks.

Guinea

Three-year timeline to elections sparked local outcry as rift widened between military authorities, on one hand, and political parties and civil society, on the other; ruling junta announced armed forces reforms. After interim President Col Doumbouya late April proposed to extend transition by 39 months, interim legislative body, National Transitional Council (CNT), 11 May approved slightly shorter 36-month timeline to elections. Revised timeline endorsed despite condemnation hours earlier by G58 umbrella group of opposition parties of Doumbouya’s “authoritarian governance” and alleged attempt to “confiscate power”. Meanwhile, National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) civil society coalition immediately denounced CNT decision, threatened street protests. Ruling junta 13 May banned demonstrations; FNDC immediately said they “would not comply” with “illegal decision”, vowed to send complaint to UN Human Rights Office, which 30 May urged transitional authorities to revoke ban. Three-year transition to constitutional rule also prompted international reactions. UN Sec Gen Guterres 1 May urged junta to operate “swift transition”, while EU 4 May called for “truly inclusive dialogue” over roadmap to defuse tensions. Doumbouya 5 May appointed Lt Col Ismael Keita to lead military intelligence services with Lt Col Oumar Barou Yombouno as his deputy. Defence Minister Aboubacar Sidiki Camara 23 May unveiled military reforms with stated aim of improving working conditions of rank-and-file soldiers, combating clientelism and factionalism within armed forces. Public Prosecutor Charles Alphonse Wright 4 May announced investigations against former President Condé and 26 of his collaborators, including former PM Kassory Fofana, former Defence Minister Mohamed Diané and former National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara, on charges of “murder, torture, kidnappings and rape” in relation to repression of anti-third term demonstrations in 2020.

Guinea-Bissau

In new sign of rising political instability, President Sissoco Embaló dissolved parliament in bid to strengthen his hand amid tensions within ruling coalition. Embaló 16 May dissolved parliament, accusing MPs of “corruption, harmful administration and embezzlement”; same day said “persistent and unresolvable” differences between National Assembly and other govt branches created “space for guerrilla politics and plotting” and scheduled early parliamentary elections for 18 Dec. After Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) new stabilisation mission late April arrived in Guinea-Bissau, head of former ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Domingos Simões Pereira, 4 May suggested deployment amounts to “invasion”, lamented ECOWAS bought into Embaló’s narrative of coup plot following early Feb attack on govt palace.

Nigeria

Armed groups’ violence continued in North West; jihadist group launched attacks outside core areas of operation; and separatists targeted security personnel and high-profile individuals in South East. In North West, criminal violence continued amid apparent lull in security forces operations. In Zamfara state, armed groups 6-18 May killed at least 75 people across Bakura, Maradun, Maru and Bukkuyum areas; armed group 30 May killed about 30 members of local vigilante group in Bungudu area; gunfight between rival armed groups 30-31 May killed about 44 in Shinkafi area. In Kaduna state, gunmen 17 May abducted about 30 people near Katari village on Abuja-Kaduna highway. In Kano state, gunmen same day killed six people at Karfi village in Takai area. In Katsina state, armed group 24 May killed at least 15 farmers at Gakurdi village in Jibia area. Meanwhile, in north-eastern Borno state, govt forces 14 May killed top Boko Haram commander, Abubakar Sarki, in Konduga area, and jihadist attacks persisted. Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 3 May killed at least nine villagers in Chibok area; 21-22 May killed at least 32 people in Mudu village, Dikwa area. ISWAP also continued new campaign outside core areas of operation. Suspected ISWAP insurgents 10 May killed at least six soldiers and unconfirmed number of civilians in Takum area, Taraba state. In Niger state, ISWAP claimed 12 May ambush that killed four including three police in Suleja town near federal capital Abuja. In South East, deadly attacks, which authorities blamed on separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), continued. In Anambra state, gunmen overnight 15-16 May killed two soldiers near Onitsha city; 16 May killed four vigilantes in state capital Awka; 21 May beheaded Anambra state lawmaker Okechukwu Okoye; next day killed pregnant woman, her four children, and six others, all from northern states, in Orumba North area, heightening ethnic tensions; 30 May attacked state-owned radio station in Onitsha city. In Imo state, security forces 16 May repelled attack on house of traditional rulers’ council chairman, Emmanuel Okeke, killing six assailants. In Ebonyi state, gunmen 17 May attacked house of chairman of Ikwo area, Steve Orogwu, killing four.

Togo

Jihadists launched first deadly attack in country, leaving eight soldiers killed. In northern Kpendjal prefecture near border with Burkina Faso, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 11 May attacked army post in Kpinkankandi village, killing eight soldiers and injuring a dozen more; military reportedly killed 15 assailants in response. Govt immediately blamed “terrorists” and JNIM late May claimed attack. EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell 11 May said attack “shows that the terrorist threat is spreading” to Gulf of Guinea countries, stressed need to “redouble efforts” to reverse trend.

April 2022

Africa

Burkina Faso

Deadly jihadist attacks and counter-insurgency operations continued in north; military junta announced local-level talks with jihadist groups and requested more time from West Africa regional bloc to finalise transition timetable. Jihadist violence increased in Centre-North region from late March. Presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants overnight 31 March-1 April killed 20 civilians in Namentenga province and 8 April attacked military detachment, killing 12 soldiers and four volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Sanmatenga province. Residents of Bourzanga town (Bam province, also Centre-North), where jihadists established presence in March, early April said town running out of supplies. In Sahel region (north), military in cooperation with Nigerien forces 2-25 April conducted airstrikes and ground offensives against both JNIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, claimed about 100 combatants killed and 40 detained; local sources said most killed were civilians, which defence ministry 24 April denied. Coordinated jihadist attacks on two military detachments 24 April killed nine soldiers and six civilians in Pobé-Mengao department (Soum province, also Sahel). Suspected jihadists 26 April reportedly opened fire on civilians near Markoye town (Oudalan province, Sahel), killing 13. Amid mounting public pressure to address insecurity, President Lt Col Damiba 1 April announced dialogue with jihadists, with aim of “integrating Burkinabe youth from these groups back into society”; Council of Ministers 13 April created commission coordinating local dialogue committees. Interim govt 15 April announced recruitment, training and deployment of 3,000 additional soldiers by May. Deposed President Kaboré released from house arrest 6 April. Military junta 22 April requested more time to finalise “acceptable transition timetable” ahead of West African regional body ECOWAS 25 April deadline; ECOWAS 27 April announced it would send mission to country to determine next steps. Ouagadougou military court 6 April sentenced former President Compaoré to life imprisonment for 1987 murder of then-President Sankara. Sankara’s relatives and several civil society groups immediately welcomed trial’s outcome, with Thomas Sankara Memorial Committee hailing it as “great victory”; former National Reconciliation Minister Zephirin Diabré 10 April however said Compaoré’s conviction could be obstacle to future national reconciliation.

Mali

Jihadist violence persisted in Mopti region amid national and international outcry over alleged “massacre” of hundreds of civilians at hands of govt and Russian forces; EU suspended in-country training missions. Army 1 April said military 23-31 March “neutralised” over 200 jihadists in major operation in Moura town (Djenné district) in central Mopti region. Several media and rights groups however accused govt forces and allies of “massacre”. Notably, NGO Human Rights Watch 5 April said army and foreign fighters, identified as Russians, late March “allegedly summarily executed” 300 civilian men in Moura town, urged “independent, credible inquiry”. UN envoy in Mali El-Ghassim Wane 7 April told Security Council military govt had denied request to grant UN mission investigators access to site; Bamako same day announced military tribunal would handle investigation. Meanwhile, violence continued in Mopti. Notably, explosive device attack by suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 19 April killed Russian paramilitary near Hombori village (Douentza district); in apparent retaliation, govt forces and Russian private military company Wagner Group elements same day reportedly stormed Hombori. Armed forces reported air strikes 14 April killed 12 militants, including Franco-Tunisian JNIM leader Samir Al-Bourhan, in Ganguel forest, and overnight 27-28 April killed 12 other combatants near Yirma village, both Djenné district. Simultaneous jihadist attacks 24 April also targeted military camps in Sévaré (Mopti region), Bapho and Niono towns (Ségou region), leaving six soldiers dead. JNIM 24 April claimed it had captured Wagner operatives during first week of April in central Ségou region. Junta continued to take increasingly harsh line on political opposition: authorities 4 April allegedly sought to arrest opposition leader Oumar Mariko after he publicly accused army of killing civilians in Moura. Amid rumours of govt reshuffle and internal conflicts within PM Choguel Maïga’s support base, Maïga 21 April presented transitional govt’s activities to legislative body National Transitional Council, emphasised 24-month transition timeline and praised army’s recent advances. Thousands 1 April demonstrated in capital Bamako against French presence and West African bloc ECOWAS’ sanctions. Following year-long tensions between Bamako and Brussels, EU 11 April announced full suspension of EUCAP and EUTM missions in Mali.

Niger

Rival jihadist factions engaged in major clashes in Diffa region, parliament authorised relocation of foreign troops from Mali to Niger, and authorities arrested sitting minister and other govt officials as part of anti-corruption campaign. In Diffa region (south east), infighting between two subgroups of Boko Haram faction known as JAS 4 April left over 60 dead around Bosso commune, on islands shared between countries of Lake Chad basin; JAS 9-10 April clashed with rival group Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Bosso commune, with at least 14 dead. ISWAP reportedly claimed executing 11 Christians after capturing them in Diffa region 22-26 April. Amid lower jihadist activity in Tillabery region (south west), suspected jihadists 12 April killed seven police officers and wounded over a dozen in attack on police station near Burkina Faso border in Bankilaré department. As part of 2-25 April joint operation with Burkinabè forces along shared border, govt forces reportedly killed numerous suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants in Torodi department. In Agadez region (north), attacks by unidentified assailants 8 and 12 April left six soldiers dead. As part of ongoing military operations across country, 54 suspected jihadists reportedly killed 26 March-2 April in Dosso, Tahoua, Tillabery, and Diffa regions; and 37 militants killed 5 April in joint operation with neighbouring Benin and Burkina Faso in tri-border area. National Assembly 22 April voted to allow redeployment from Mali to Niger of French Barkhane and European Takuba troops. Authorities 8 April arrested former Interior Minister Ousmane Cissé on accusations of involvement in alleged coup attempts in 2021 and during President Bazoum’s visit to Turkey in March. Bazoum next day announced arrests of 30 senior govt officials as part of anti-corruption drive; authorities around 19 April also arrested Communication Minister Mahamadou Zada on embezzlement charges in first-ever arrest of minister in office.

Cameroon

Army killed several suspected separatists in anglophone region amid major cholera outbreak in area’s south east; meanwhile, security forces launched operation in east to free hostages. Separatist attacks continued against civilians in Northwest (NW) and Southwest (SW) anglophone regions. Notably, separatists 7 April kidnapped dozen protesters in Mbalangi, near Kumba (SW) town and Oku (NW) subdivision; 12 April ambushed and killed five penitentiary officers in Nkum town, Bui division (NW). Authorities 8 April also stated armed men torched dozen homes and killed six people in Mbonhong village, Ndu district (NW) targeting Mbororo ethnic group, who they blamed for earlier attacks in community; in response, soldiers 26 April killed six attackers. Military raid against separatists in Bali town (NW) 21 April left three civilians dead. In Mbalangi, near Kumba (SW) and Jakiri (NW) towns, angry mobs 5 April killed three separatists accused of rape and other violence. Soldiers 25 April killed eight men in Guzang, Batibo town, who they accused of being separatists. Cholera outbreak, which started in Oct 2021, continued to take heavy toll on anglophone region’s south west, with about 50 per cent of all 4,627 cholera cases across country recorded there as of 5 April; Meme and Ndian divisions (SW) and Littoral were most affected areas due to worsening pre-existing water crisis and enduring armed conflict. After years of campaigning by Anglophones and dozens of civil society groups, U.S. administration 15 April granted Temporary Protected Status to Cameroonian migrants, allowing 18-month stay until individual status is determined. Meanwhile, in east, military 18 April sent hundreds of troops to border Mbere division near Central African Republic, where rebels had abducted at least 35 people; operation left two dead and five hostages freed. In Northeast, Boko Haram jihadists 2 April killed two civilians in Doulong Touro village, Mayo Tsanaga division; 29 April reportedly abducted at least 14 people in Bargaram locality, Logone-et-Chari department. Regional Multinational Joint Task Force 1 May reported killing at least 20 suspected jihadists during operation in Nigeria and Cameroon 27-29 April. Cameroon 12 April signed military deal with Russia, renewing cooperation.

Central African Republic

Rebels continued deadly attacks outside capital Bangui, govt forces and Russian paramilitary faced more accusations of serious crimes, and intercommunal violence rose in west and centre. Rebel groups launched attacks across country. Notably, Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic (FPRC) rebel group 1-2 April attacked villages in Bakouma sub-prefecture (Mbomou prefecture, south east), leaving at least five civilians dead; Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebel coalition allegedly attacked NGO personnel in Basse-Koto prefecture (east), injuring four 7 April and another two 9 April; and 3R rebel group 16 April and 19 April clashed with govt forces and Wagner paramilitaries in Amada-Gaza sub-prefecture (Mambéré-Kadéï prefecture, east), causing ten deaths among rebels according to local authorities. Meanwhile, Bangui 4 April rejected accusations made by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet late March of human rights violations, including torture and sexual violence, by security forces and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, claimed report was meant to tarnish military’s image. Security forces and Wagner personnel 11-12 April reportedly killed over ten civilians in Gordil and Ndah villages (Vakaga prefecture, east); UN mission (MINUSCA) 16 April launched investigation into incident. Video allegedly showing soldiers torturing and executing man which had surfaced on social media in Jan, mid-month prompted outcry among opposition and human rights groups, while govt denounced smearing campaign. Communal violence spiked during month. Notably, herders 2 April attacked Samoh village (Ouham prefecture, centre), reportedly in retaliation for cattle theft, leaving five dead; clashes between Fulani herders (supported by 3R group) and local tradesmen early April left six dead in Gadzi sub-prefecture (Mambéré-Kadéï, south west); and anti-balaka militia attack on Fulani herders 8-10 April reportedly left around ten dead in Zawa village (Nana-Mambéré, west). Political tensions stayed high after March dialogue, as govt supporters continued to call for constitutional revision to allow third presidential term; notably online petition by Héritier Doneng, sports minister’s chief of staff and head of Republican Front movement, 20 April reportedly reached 400,034 signatures. First audience of hybrid Special Criminal Court mandated with adjudicating serious crimes committed in country since 2003, postponed 19 April to 25 April after defence lawyers failed to show up; later delayed to 16 May.

Chad

Pre-dialogue with armed groups in Qatar continued, civil society coalition withdrew from national dialogue initiative, and land dispute killed one in south. Pre-dialogue between Transitional Military Council (CMT) and 52 Chadian politico-military movements continued in Qatari capital Doha despite mistrust toward transitional authorities. CMT and other groups 14 April exchanged draft protocols on final agreement, including proposals on ceasefire, release of prisoners of war, and disarmament, demobilisation, reinsertion program. Armed groups 14 April subsequently expressed discontent at CMT’s proposition. Major rebel group Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR) 5 April withdrew from talks, denouncing transitional authorities’ hidden agenda. Preparations for national dialogue planned on 10 May faced further hurdles as civil society coalition Wakit Tama 6 April suspended talks with CMT about conditions for dialogue participation, citing transitional authorities’ “duplicity” and announcing “major actions” in response. Following CMT mid-month confirmation dialogue would go forward despite pre-dialogue with armed groups’ slow pace, groups and opposition expressed doubts about CMT’s good-will and dialogue’s inclusivity. Amid growing scepticism about transitional authorities’ sincerity and rising fears they will cling to power, transitional President Mahamat Déby named his half-brother Abdelkérim Déby as presidential chief of staff after former Minister Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul 5 April resigned from position citing “institutional and interpersonal” reasons. Former President Idriss Déby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) political party 18-20 April held event for anniversary of Déby’s death, criticised transitional authorities for not organising official commemoration. Judges 11 April suspended March’s strike order until 6 May to give govt chance to accede to their demands for more security for members of judiciary. Meanwhile, land dispute 7 April sparked clashes between Migami and Dadjo communities in Dokatchi village (Guéra prefecture, Guéra region), leaving one dead and 14 injured.

Burundi

Imbonerakure harassed civilians, intelligence services reportedly abducted opposition supporter, and security operations against RED-Tabara rebel movement continued. Ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure continued to target civilians. During CNDD-FDD sec gen’s visit to Rumonge commune, Imbonerakure 2 April harassed and beat up local fruit vendors. Clashes between opposition party Congrès National pour la Liberté (CNL) and Imbonerakure 13 April left CNL member severely injured in Mpanda commune, Bubanza province, prompting arrest of 14 CNL members in Mpanda 16-17 April. Authorities 16 April launched national campaign to provide paramilitary training to at least 6,000 Imbonerakure, with view to potentially create Force de réserve et d’appui au développement du pays (FRAD), new reserve military force composed of civilians; first batch of 300 Imbonerakure 16 April completed training in Makamba province. Meanwhile, families accused intelligence service of arresting four people whom they suspected of collaborating with armed groups in Ndava commune, Cankuzo province, 31 March; intelligence services 7 April also allegedly kidnapped CNL member in Cibitoke province. Police collaborating with locals 3 April found two unidentified, tied-up bodies in Buganda commune, Cibitoke province; 8 April found another corpse in Buruhukiro zone, Rumonge commune. Concerns over economic situation rose, primarily in Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces (north west), where rise in commodity prices and fuel shortages paralysed fishing. Armed forces continued to fight RED-Tabara rebel movement, Tutsi-led group that opposes country’s Hutu-dominated govt, in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Notably, soldiers and their allies, mai mai rebels, 13 April killed Congolese soldier and stole around 400 cows from local farmers in Mutarule, Uvira territory, South Kivu, DRC; around 90 additional Burundian soldiers 15 April crossed into South Kivu.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Amid ongoing violence from armed groups, regional leaders pledged to launch joint force to tackle M23 threat in country’s east. Violence continued to run high in east. Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) launched attacks in Irumu territory. Notably, alleged ADF 8 April killed eight in Pakulu village; ADF rebels 10-11 April killed at least 20 in Basili Chiefdom villages; alleged ADF 10 April killed nine in Shauri Moya locality, while four others found dead next day. Locals 11 April found 11 bodies in Mangusu village, 5km from Komanda locality where ADF reportedly killed at least 18 others same day. Four civilians died in alleged ADF attack in Otomabere village 16 April. In North Kivu province, ADF 4 April reportedly killed 29 people, including army captain, in Masambo village, Beni territory. Congolese operations continued as security forces alongside UN mission to DR Congo 19 April overtook key ADF base in Irumu’s Mont Oyo zone. Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebels 15 April decapitated five civilians in Ndjala village, Djugu territory. Following M23 rebels late-March offensive against army at border with Rwanda and Uganda, rebels 1 April, and again 10 April declared unilateral ceasefire; M23 rebels and army however accused each other of ongoing violence during month and heavy clashes 27 April resumed with army accusing rebels of provoking them. East African Community (EAC) representatives 21 April agreed to deploy joint military force to address threats from local armed groups in Eastern DRC; move follows DRC’s formal adhesion to EAC 8 April. State of siege 19 April renewed despite opposition from deputies from east. Deputies from parliamentary group Common Front for Congo (FCC), which is closely aligned with former President Kabila, 14 April boycotted National Assembly plenary session on reforms to new 2023 electoral law, prompting Assembly President Christophe Mboso to postpone plenary discussion to 20 April; debate on law 22 April resumed, albeit without FCC deputies. After Court of Cassation 11 April overturned Court of Appeal’s decision that sentenced Vital Kamerhe, Tshisekedi’s former chief of staff, to 13 years of hard labour for corruption and embezzlement, Kamerhe, 18 April returned to Kinshasa.

Uganda

Allegations that late parliament speaker was poisoned caused tensions, commodity prices rose markedly, and security operation against cattle-rustling in Karamoja continued. Following death of Parliament Speaker and Omoro county MP Jacob Oulanyah in March, Electoral Commission 9 April set timetable for by-election to fill vacant seat, with planned vote on 26 May. Oulanyah’s family 8 April announced son Andrew Ojok would run; during meeting convened by President Museveni, National Resistance Movement (NRM) party chairman, four NRM hopefuls 19 April agreed to step down in favour of Ojok. Following allegations from Oulanyah’s father Nathan Okori and NRM Vice Chairman for Buganda region Godfrey Kiwanda that Oulanyah was poisoned, police late March opened investigation and 11 April announced it was preparing summons including for Okori, Kiwanda and opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine; govt maintained Oulanyah died from cancer. Museveni 15 April announced meeting of NRM caucus to discuss rising commodity prices; 26 April convened meeting, during which they agreed not to intervene with incentives or other measures, said that it could otherwise destabilise country. Meanwhile, in restive Karamoja region, army 14 April reportedly killed local council leader who was suspected of leading cattle raids in Napak district; army late March said it had killed 309 people in operation against cattle rustlers since July, prompting opposition Forum for Democratic Change 4 April to request that govt investigate alleged civilian deaths during military operation. Rwandan President Kagame 24 April arrived in Uganda on “private visit” in first trip to country in four years to attend Museveni’s son Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s birthday party, and met president to discuss regional security.

Eritrea

Govt downgraded diplomatic mission to Ethiopia in sign that bilateral relations may be souring. After Ethiopian PM Abiy 24 March declared humanitarian ceasefire for Tigray region, local media early April reported Asmara 30 March downgraded diplomatic mission to Ethiopia, replacing outgoing Ambassador Semere Russom with Chargé d’Affaires Biniam Berhe. Asmara yet to accept letter of credence from newly appointed Ethiopian ambassador to Eritrea, Fekadu Beyene. Meanwhile, violence against Eritrean refugees in northern Ethiopia continued: six unidentified gunmen 2 April raided Dabat refugee camp in Amhara region, injuring eight Eritrean refugees. High-level govt delegation 11 April visited Sudan, met with Sovereign Council head Gen Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan and expressed solidarity with latter’s “efforts to overcome the ongoing crisis”; 16 April presented peace initiative to end Sudanese crisis, which Sovereign Council next day welcomed. FM Osman Saleh 27-28 April travelled to Russia, met with counterpart Sergey Lavrov, reportedly called on Russia and Ukraine “to find bilateral solution to their conflict”.

Ethiopia

While fragile truce between federal govt and Tigray forces held, humanitarian aid to embattled region remained grossly insufficient; elsewhere, religious tensions flared and other violence continued. No clashes reported in April in northern Tigray region after federal and Tigray authorities late March agreed to humanitarian truce. For first time since Dec 2021, aid convoys 1, 2 April entered Tigray by land; another convoy of 50 trucks 15 April arrived in regional capital Mekelle after Tigray forces 12 April withdrew from Erebti district in Afar region. World Health Organization 18 April said only 4% of required aid had reached Tigray since truce. More truck convoys later mid- to late-April reached Mekelle, but deliveries by month’s end remained far from sufficient to meet needs. Tigray forces 25 April said they were completely withdrawing from Afar in hope aid could finally pour into Tigray; federal govt 28 April rebutted claims as “big lies”. In joint report, NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch 6 April alleged Amhara regional authorities and security forces, with possible participation of federal soldiers, carried out “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Western Tigray from Nov 2020, systematically expelling several hundred thousand Tigrayans. Meanwhile, religious tensions spiked. Armed assailants 26 April attacked Muslim worshippers in Gondar city, Amhara; attack and subsequent unrest left 21 dead. Retaliatory attacks against Orthodox and Protestant Christians reported 28 April in Werabe town, Southern Nations region; casualties unknown. Also in Amhara, clashes in border area between Jille Dhumuga district in Oromia Zone and Efrata Gidim district in North Shewa Zone around 18-19 April reportedly left 20 dead, over 5,000 displaced; Amhara region officials accused Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group of initiating violence, while ethnic Oromo residents blamed Amhara militias known as Fano, and regional special forces. In Oromia region, federal govt forces along with Oromia regional forces early April launched renewed offensive against OLA: intense fighting reported 2-3 April along highway connecting Hawassa city to Ethiopia-Kenya border town of Moyale; violence throughout month persisted in Oromia’s North, West and South West Shewa zones, also Horo Guduru Wollega, West and East Guji zones, with all conflict actors reportedly targeting civilians.

Kenya

Political parties held chaotic primaries ahead of August general elections as supporters disrupted voting to denounce methods used for selecting candidates and voting irregularities. Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) primaries sparked infighting: party supporters 1 April protested in Mombasa county over alleged issuance of direct tickets to certain candidates, prompting party to postpone primaries in Kilifi and Mombasa counties. Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) primaries also marred by tensions: unidentified individuals in Kangaru town, Embu county, 13 April burnt ballot boxes and ransacked lorry carrying ballot material, while candidates in Bomet county next day urged vote suspension, claiming some ballots were pre-marked. All primaries however finalised by 22 April deadline. In other incidents of political violence, crowd 1 April stoned helicopter carrying ODM presidential candidate Odinga in Uasin Gishu county; unidentified assailants 3 April killed businessman and aspiring member of County Assembly Thomas Okari in Kisii county; gunmen 6 April reportedly attacked rally of Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen in Kapetwa area, injuring two. Meanwhile, violence related to cattle raiding, land and pasture access continued in Isiolo, Marsabit, Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana and Garissa counties. Notably, in Isiolo, armed individuals 8 and 18 April killed 14 people in Burat area and Tigania village. Unidentified gunmen 28 April killed at least five people including local govt officials who were pursuing stolen cattle in Awaye area, Marsabit. World Food Programme 19 April said severe drought has left over 3mn Kenyans acutely food insecure. Following arrears in govt subsidies for oil companies amid global fuel price increases, fuel shortages throughout month led to petrol rationing and hours-long queues at petroleum retails stations across country.

Somalia

Election process made significant progress as both houses of parliament selected speakers, paving way for presidential vote; Al-Shabaab attacks continued; and UN agencies warned of risk of famine. In major step forward for electoral cycle, approximately 290 out of 329 members of parliament sworn in 14 April, meeting PM Mohamed Hussein Roble’s deadline. Swearing in took place after Roble 5 April removed two federal electoral body officials who opposed his actions, and 13 April found last-minute agreement on some disputed seats with South West state President Abdiaziz Laftagareen. Dispute over selection of Lower House seats representing Jubaland’s Gedo region led to parallel elections around 22-23 April: 16 lawmakers selected in Ceel Waaq city with support from Roble; another set of 16 MPs selected in Garbaharey city with support from President Farmajo. Selection of parliament leadership went ahead despite concerns over security and location of vote: Senator Abdi Hashi Abdullahi re-elected 26 April as Upper House Speaker, while Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur (Madobe) 28 April became Lower House Speaker. AU Transition Mission (ATMIS) got off to bumpy start: after mission 1 April officially began operations, taking over from AMISOM, Roble 6 April declared mission’s head Francisco Madeira persona non grata, accusing him of “engaging in acts that are incompatible with his status”; Farmajo immediately challenged move. Al-Shabaab conducted several attacks in capital Mogadishu, notably firing mortar shells at complex hosting parliament during 14 April swearing-in ceremony; group 18 April again targeted complex during parliamentary meeting; suicide attack at popular restaurant 22 April killed at least six. In Hirshabelle state in centre, Al-Shabaab continued to demonstrate its presence in Hiraan region, temporarily seizing town of Mataban on 18 and 23 April; at least ten soldiers killed 30 April in roadside explosion in Middle Shabelle region. In Bay region (South West state in south), Al-Shabaab around 12 April clashed with Ethiopian contingent of ATMIS and govt forces in Tugaar-Hoosle area; at least ten al-Shabaab reportedly killed. Amid worsening drought, several UN agencies 12 April said nearly 6mn people, roughly 40% of country’s population, face extreme levels of food insecurity with “pockets of famine conditions” likely in six areas.

Somaliland

Uncertainty over upcoming political cycle persisted, and authorities detained journalists. Opposition parties UCID and Waddani mid-April renewed accusation that President Bihi plans to prolong his stay in power, urged him to schedule presidential election. National Election Commission 27 April replaced NEC Chair Abdirashid Mohamud Ali with commissioner Kaltun Hassan Abdi; former immediately claimed move null and void, said he remained legitimate chair. Gunfire 13 April erupted in capital Hargeisa’s central prison as inmates allegedly clashed with prison guards; security forces detained 15 journalists covering events. Marodi-Jeh Regional Court 19 April released 12 journalists; local NGOs Somali Journalists Syndicate and Somali Media Association immediately welcomed move, demanded journalists still in detention be freed.

South Sudan

While main signatories of 2018 peace deal reached new agreement on unified armed forces command, deadly fighting displaced thousands in north. Following late-March spike in tensions between President Kiir and his long-time rival, VP Riek Machar, leaders 3 April agreed to implement key provision of 2018 peace agreement and form unified armed forces command; under Sudanese-brokered security deal, Kiir’s forces got 60% of key leadership posts in national security institutions, while Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) took remaining 40%. Following deal, Machar immediately announced he would lift weeks-long suspension of participation in security and ceasefire mechanisms that underpinned 2018 peace deal. Kiir 12 April ordered military officers loyal to Machar be officially integrated into unified army command. Violent clashes 8 April erupted between Machar’s SPLM/A-IO and forces allied to govt in Leer county of Unity state; local authorities 11 April reported around 14,000 people displaced and at least 35 killed, including SPLM/A-IO senior leader James Gatjung Dok, in several days of fighting. In Upper Nile state, govt forces and SPLM/A-IO troops mid-April accused each other of attacks in Maban county. Ethnic Misseriya militiamen from Sudan 13 April attacked three villages in disputed Abyei Administrative Area, reportedly killing over 40 people. Violence also continued in Jonglei and Lakes states. Notably, cattle-related violence 16 April reportedly killed four people in Jonglei’s Nyirol county. Lakes state authorities said four people killed and five wounded 1 April in Rumbek East county when youth from Unity state carried out cattle raids. Intercommunal clashes 8-12 April reportedly killed at least eight people in Eastern Equatoria state and neighbouring Greater Pibor Administrative Area (south east). UN Food and Agriculture Organization Representative in South Sudan Meshack Malo around 12 April said “two-thirds” of country’s population “will likely face hunger between May and July”.

Sudan

Violence in West Darfur reportedly left over 200 dead, anti-coup protesters marked third anniversary of former President Bashir’s fall, and military leaders’ relations with UN deteriorated. Deadly violence continued to ravage Darfur. Fighting between Arab pastoralists and non-Arab Massalit tribesmen 21 April erupted in Kreinik area of West Darfur state, 25 April reportedly spread to state capital El Geneina. NGO General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur 24 April said at least 168 people killed in violence, accused paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF)-backed Janjaweed militia of orchestrating attacks, while West Darfur Governor Khamis Abdalla Abkar 26 April said death toll was over 200. RSF Head Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 1 April ordered use of military force and implementation of emergency law in South Darfur state after deadly tribal violence in late March. Meanwhile, on anniversary of 2019 sit-in in front of military headquarters in capital Khartoum, thousands 6 April marched in Khartoum and across country, demanding civilian rule; security forces shot one protester dead. Thousands of anti-coup protesters 11 April rallied across country on third anniversary of Bashir’s removal. Coup leader and Sovereign Council Chairman Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 1 April threatened to expel head of UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, who late March warned political paralysis could lead country to “economic and security collapse”. Alliance of rebel groups signatory to 2020 peace agreement, Sudan Revolutionary Front, 9 April presented national dialogue initiative to resolve political crisis. Political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) 14 April conditioned participation on release of political detainees and abolition of state of emergency; authorities 22-27 April released at least 27 political prisoners, including former Minister Khalid Omer Yousif and former Sovereign Council member Mohammed al-Faki Suliman, but dozens of opponents remained in prison. Military leaders took several steps toward rehabiliting Bashir-era ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and allies. Authorities around 7 April dropped charges of crimes against state pressed against NCP head Ibrahim Ghandour and released him from prison; court 26 April reversed order dissolving Islamic Call Organization, which served as financing arm for Bashir’s regime.

Mozambique

Lull in violence recorded in far north Cabo Delgado province as Mozambican, Rwandan and SADC troops increased coordination effort against jihadists; latter however retained capacity to mount attacks on security clusters in Nangade district. Govt forces early March engaged jihadist insurgents south of Nangade town, killing at least one near Chicuaia Velha village 3 April, and ambushing others in Chianga village next day. Islamist militants 4 April killed one further south in Nambedo area, Ntamba Administrative Post, and next day attacked military outpost in Mandimba village east of Nangade town; three soldiers reportedly killed. In response, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) troops reportedly moved out from Nangade district capital to reinforce Mandimba. Voice of America news outlet 18 April reported militants around 14 April abducted at least ten people, including women and children, near Chibau village, south of Nangade town. Militants 30 April returned to Chibau, killing one villager, and same day killed another civilian in Litingina village. In neighbouring Mueda district, combined force of Mozambican and Rwandan troops 22 April intercepted insurgents in Chipingo locality on their way to Muiha village in Nangade district; toll unknown. In Macomia district, some SAMIM troops based in Macomia town relocated north to site between Quinto Congresso and Nova Zambezia villages following spate of insurgent attacks in area since late 2021; Rwandan forces in recent weeks have also deployed around Macomia coastal towns of Quiterajo and Mucojo, outside their usual area of operation, reflecting more coordinated squeeze on insurgents. Elsewhere in Macomia, Matemo island remained under curfew following major incursion in March, with marine traffic blocked. Heads of state and govt from SADC’s Organ Troika, representatives of countries supporting SAMIM, and President Nyusi 12 April met virtually, extended SAMIM’s mandate for three months and approved mission’s transition from “rapid deployment” to “multidimensional” force taking on greater peacekeeping responsibilities. South Africa 14 April extended its own troop mandate for SADC intervention for 12 months; mandate of SAMIM troops had thus far been agreed multilaterally for periods of three months.

Zimbabwe

Authorities continued to harass political opposition, and Central Bank raised interest rate amid hyperinflation. Following March legislative by-elections, new MPs sworn in 5 April. Opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa same day urged party’s incoming legislators to prioritise electoral reforms to level electoral playing field ahead of 2023 general elections. Tensions ran high ahead of several local council by-elections scheduled for 7 May: authorities 16 April reportedly detained 14 CCC activists during rally in Mutare city, Manicaland province; residents of Chitungwiza town’s Zengeza West Ward 7 in Harare province mid-month accused ruling party ZANU-PF candidate for by-elections of intimidating electorate during door-to-door campaigns. CCC VP Tendai Biti claimed ZANU-PF representatives 18 April attempted to “kidnap” party activist Makomborero Haruzivishe, denounced President Mnangagwa’s “incorrigible regime with no respect of human rights”. State media stepped up campaign against prominent anti-corruption activist and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. Notably, state broadcaster ZBC late-April claimed Chin’ono acquired goats from govt as part of controversial Command Agriculture scheme, prompting threats from well-known ZANU-PF activist that they would invade Chin’ono’s property in Mukarakate village (Murewa district) to seize his goats; villagers and CCC supporters 30 April reportedly gathered to protect Chin’ono’s estate. Meanwhile, ZANU-PF provincial youth league elections suspended 24 April in Mashonaland West province as party youths traded blows and threatened to kill each other. Amid currency slide and food and fuel price pressures exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, Central Bank 4 April raised main interest rate from 60% to record-high 80%, citing escalation in annual inflation to 72.7% in March.

Benin

Suspected jihadist attacks killed six members of security forces in country’s north. Armed group allegedly linked to Islamic State or al-Qaeda 11 April launched explosive device attack on armed forces convoy in Pendjari National Park in north west near Burkina Faso border; five soldiers killed and at least eight others injured. Suspected jihadist group 26 April raided police station in north-eastern municipality of Karimama (Alibori department), less than 50km from Niger border; attack killed one police officer and wounded several others. Amid series of jihadist attacks since late 2021, President Talon 6 April appointed Gen Fructueux Gbaguidi as new Armed Forces Chief.

Côte d’Ivoire

President Ouattara named new VP and appointed slimmed-down govt; authorities continued to engage with neighbours to step up regional security cooperation. Ouattara 19 April announced selection as new VP of Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, governor of Central Bank of West African States; VP position had remained vacant since 2020. PM Achi 13 April resigned, giving way to long-expected govt reshuffle. Ouattara 19 April reappointed Achi, tasked him with forming slimmed-down govt to reduce spending; govt of 32 ministers, down from 41, unveiled next day. Presidential Chief of Staff Claude Sahi Soumahoro 5 April travelled to Netherlands to meet former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé in exile; Blé Goudé later same day said discussion focused on “modalities surrounding his return to Abidjan”. Former President Gbagbo 7-10 April toured stronghold regions of Guémon and Cavally, called for “consolidated political alliance” with former President Bédié’s Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire. Meanwhile, Ouattara 14 April received Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé at Abidjan presidential palace to discuss joint fight against jihadist groups; leaders pledged to take “bold regional measures” to defeat Islamist insurgencies. Defence and security ministers from ad hoc security coalition of West African states, Accra Initiative, 13 April met in Benin, agreed to create multinational joint task force to combat jihadists. University students in second-largest city of Bouake 25 April went on strike to demand better study conditions; next day clashed with police, reportedly leaving several students injured and 22 detained.

Guinea

Special court charged former President Condé-era officials with financial crimes, while interim military authorities proposed 39-month transition to civilian rule. Court for economic and financial crimes (set up by ruling junta in late 2021) placed former govt officials and members of former ruling party Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) in detention on several charges, including corruption, embezzlement of public funds and money laundering: PM Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and former Defence Minister Mohamed Diané jailed 6 April; two other former ministers, Albert Damantang Camara and Ibrahima Kourouma, held in custody 21 April; former National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara and former Electoral Commission President Loucény Camara also sent to prison around 28 April. In response, RPG 14 April suspended participation in national dialogue. On interim President Doumbouya’s orders, former President Condé 8 April returned to Guinea after receiving medical treatment in United Arab Emirates since Jan; ruling military junta 22 April announced Condé freed from house arrest. Meanwhile, Territorial and Decentralisation Minister Mory Condé 15 April unveiled ten-step electoral roadmap without set deadlines. Country 25 April missed regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deadline to present “acceptable timetable” for return to civilian rule. ECOWAS 27 April announced it would send mission to country to determine next steps. Doumbouya 30 April proposed 39-month transition to civilian rule; RPG and other opposition groups immediately denounced move.

Nigeria

Kaduna state remained epicentre of violence in North West and large-scale attacks left over 150 killed and thousands displaced in neighbouring Plateau state; Islamic State claimed expansion into central states, and separatists stepped up attacks in South East. Federal govt 13 April blamed “bandits” together with “Boko Haram insurgents” for late-March attack on Abuja-Kaduna train line in North West; operations continued to rescue dozens of abductees. Also in Kaduna, gunmen 4 April abducted 22 civilians on Abuja-Kaduna highway; same day attacked Polwire military base in Birnin Gwari area, killing at least a dozen soldiers. In Zamfara state, bandits 1 April reportedly attacked Daki Takwas village in Gummi area, killing at least 20 civilians. Troops 1 April engaged suspected bandits near Suleja town, Niger state; three bandits and 14 soldiers reportedly killed. Military next day said 83 suspected bandits killed in airstrikes in Zamfara and Kaduna states. Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen around 10 April reportedly killed around 154 people in Kanam area of Plateau state; about 4,800 people reportedly displaced by violence. In Borno state in North East, Boko Haram faction known as JAS around 31 March-1 April ambushed and killed about 50 fighters from rival group Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Abadam area; renewed clashes in Sambisa forest 22 April left 32 killed on both sides. ISWAP allegedly expanded operations to new areas: group claimed 19 April bomb attack which killed at least three in Iware town, Taraba state, and overnight 22-23 April reportedly killed five policemen in first ISWAP attack in Kogi state. Herder-farmer violence continued. Suspected herders 4 April killed 12 people in Plateau’s Bassa area and 12 April killed at least 23 villagers in Guma and Tarka areas of Benue state. In south, suspected members of separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s armed wing Eastern Security Network launched almost daily attacks on local authorities and security forces, particularly in Anambra state: at least six people killed 3-7 April in Aguata area; four police officers killed 13 April in Ogbaru area. Federal High Court in Abuja 8 April dropped eight of 15 charges against IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu.

March 2022

Africa

Burkina Faso

Surge in jihadist violence recorded in north and east after period of relative calm since Jan coup; international partners reacted cautiously to military junta’s three-year transitional plan. In Sahel region (north), presumed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants launched raids on gold mining sites, killing at least 14 civilians in Seno province’s Seytenga department 10 March and another ten in Oudalan province’s Gorom-Gorom department 12 March; suspected jihadists 14 March killed three civilians and four volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Arbinda town, and air force 20-22 March reportedly killed 53 jihadists near Djibo town, both Soum province. In Centre-North region, presumed jihadists 6 March killed eight people in Sanmatenga province; al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 13 March launched complex attacks in Namentenga province, reportedly killing 15 people including 13 gendarmes. In North region, local media 17 March reported security forces had killed approximately 40 jihadists in Loroum province 15-16 March. High levels of violence persisted in East region: army airstrikes in Kompienga and Tapoa provinces 3 March killed unknown number of JNIM militants; JNIM 20 March killed 13 soldiers in Gourma province’s Natiaboani area. In neighbouring Centre-East region, presumed JNIM militants 20 March launched complex ambush against military in Koulpelogo province, killing at least 11 soldiers. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), army 3 and 8 March conducted airstrikes on suspected jihadists after repelling sophisticated attack on Toeni military outpost (Sourou province) 28 Feb. Military junta leader Lt Col Damiba 1 March signed new transition charter allowing military to stay in power for three years; Damiba 2 March renewed oath of office as president under terms of new transitional charter. Damiba 5 March appointed new interim govt, with university lecturer Albert Ouedraogo sworn in as PM 7 March. In reaction to three-year transition plan, regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) cancelled 3 March visit of regional leaders to capital Ouagadougou; 25 March threatened “economic and financial sanctions” should authorities fail to finalise “acceptable transition timetable” by 25 April.

Mali

Violent clashes opposed jihadists and 2015 peace agreement signatory groups in north east, reportedly leaving hundreds dead; military suffered deadliest jihadist attack in months. In north east near border with Niger, fighting resumed between Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and 2015 peace agreement signatory groups – Movement for the Salvation of Azawad, and Tuareg Imghad and Allied Self-Defence Group – in Tamalat, Inchinane and Anderamboukane (Ménaka region) and Talataye (Gao region) areas; violence throughout month reportedly killed hundreds including civilians. In Mopti region (centre), suspected jihadist group 4 March launched deadliest attack on military in months, killing at least 27 soldiers at army base in Mondoro town near Burkina Faso’s border; army said troops killed 70 militants in response. UN mission (MINUSMA) convoy 7 March detonated explosive device north of Mopti city; two peacekeepers killed. Alleged ISGS militants 21 March launched twin attacks on military in Tessit (Gao region) and Boni (Mopti region) towns; army reported 16 soldiers and 13 assailants killed. Meanwhile, authorities faced new allegations of extrajudicial killings. Residents of Ségou region (centre) 3 March discovered at least 35 bodies, including some with holes in their heads, near Diabaly town; UN mission 4 March launched investigation into killings; army next day denied allegations of involvement. NGO Human Rights Watch 15 March alleged govt forces had killed at least 71 civilians in central and south-western Mali since Dec, condemned “new wave of executions of civilians” and urged independent inquiries. UN expert on Mali 29 March also raised concerns at UN Human Rights Council about “serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law” attributed to Malian forces. In unprecedented clampdown on foreign media, govt 17 March suspended broadcasts by French news outlets RFI and France24, accusing them of relaying false allegations of army exactions. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS’s envoy for Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, 18-20 March travelled to capital Bamako to discuss return to constitutional order with transition authorities; Interim President Goïta reportedly proposed 24-month timetable; ECOWAS 25 March upheld sanctions on Mali and asked transition authorities to stage elections within 12-16 months.

Niger

Jihadist groups stepped up attacks in Tillabery and Diffa regions, leaving over 50 dead; relocation of French Barkhane and European Takuba forces from Mali to Niger remained divisive. In Tillabery region (south west), explosive devices likely planted by al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) around 3-4 March killed five soldiers in Torodi department. Suspected jihadists 16 March attacked civilian transport vehicles in Tera department, killing 21 people including at least two police officers; 24 March ambushed army convoy in Kolmane area, also Téra department, killing six soldiers. Jihadists also ramped up attacks in Diffa region (south east). Govt forces 2 March clashed with suspected Boko Haram Bakura faction militants in Gueskerou commune (Diffa department), number of casualties unknown. Bakura combatants 7 March attacked six villages in Diffa department, killing at least 20 people and abducting unknown number of women. President Bazoum defended decision to open dialogue with jihadists: after announcing late Feb he had sent emissaries to “nine terrorist leaders” and released several militants from prison in effort to “search for peace”, Bazoum 10 March told Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera that dialogue with JNIM militants could produce positive outcome, insisted military force is necessary part of any solution. Ruling coalition 5 March issued statement supporting Bazoum’s decision to accept redeployment of French Barkhane and European Takuba forces to Niger. In letter to French President Macron, opposition MP Omar Hamidou 7 March opposed relocation, said French and European forces had “lost all credibility” in Nov 2021 when three protesters were killed in clashes with Barkhane forces in Tillabery’s Tera department.

Cameroon

Violence in Anglophone region continued, Ambazonian interim government elected new leader, and low-level jihadist attacks persisted in north east. Violent attacks continued in Anglophone areas. Notably, separatists 1 March killed nurse in regional capital Bamenda, North West region (NW); Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) 2 March launched mine explosion in Ekondo Titi town, Ndian division, South West region (SW), killing two officials and five others. In Menchum division (NW), pro-govt militias 9 March killed two in Esu locality and wounded two in Weh village; in response, villagers burned mosque and authorities subsequently deployed special forces to control riots in area. Separatists 29 March killed three Fulani herdsmen around Ndu locality (NW), prompting other herdsmen, alleged to be pro-govt militia members, to attack civilian homes, reportedly killing five. Soldiers 9 March raided Din village in Noni subdivision, Bui Division (NW), reportedly killing two. Residents accused soldiers of killing three in Bamenda on 20 March; soldiers also reportedly killed three in Bambui township near Bamenda 31 March. Médecins Sans Frontières 29 March confirmed leaving SW region, citing govt harassment. Teachers’ strike which started mid-Feb prompted strong local reactions. Notably, students 7 March protested in Douala and Ebowola cities; President Biya 9 March acknowledged teachers’ grievances and announced measures to speed up salary payment. Secondary school teachers 25 March called off strike as govt started resolving grievances. Meanwhile, Anglophone political movement saw leadership changes: Interim Government of Ambazonia separatist group 5 March elected Iya Marianta Njomia as new leader. Separatists also intensified efforts to coordinate objectives; delegates of six groups 11-13 March met in Germany to discuss refugees, internal displacement and human rights violations. Elsewhere, opposition political parties MRC and UDC, led by Maurice Kamto and Tomaino Ndam Njoya respectively, provided relief support to dozens of Bamouns chased from Memv’ele dam site, South region, in early March following tensions with Ntoumou ethnic group. In Far North region, Boko Haram 10,12 March attacked Rapid Intervention Battalion camp in Amchide and Limani towns, leaving no casualties. Jihadists 8 March killed Cameroonian soldier serving with Multinational Joint Task Force in Wulgo locality, Borno state, Nigeria.

Central African Republic

National dialogue held despite opposition’s boycott, pro-Russia protesters gathered during month following Ukraine war, and low-level violence persisted, notably in west and north. President Touadéra 15 March announced long-awaited national dialogue would take place 21-27 March, however said armed groups would not participate; in response, opposition 20 March declined invitation, citing armed group’s exclusion and failure to include electoral transparency in agenda. Dialogue 27 March ended, producing 600 recommendations, notably proposing end of embargo on firearms, without clear implementation calendar. National electoral agency mid-month announced municipal elections planned for Sept 2022 would be delayed due to lack of funds. Central African Republic (CAR) and 16 other African countries 2 march abstained from UN General Assembly vote condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine. CAR population showed support for Russia throughout month; notably, pro-Russia protesters 5 March gathered in capital Bangui and videos emerged during month of CAR soldiers announcing will to fight in Ukraine. Ukraine war also raised fears Russian paramilitary Wagner Group might reduce its presence in CAR; there was however no indication they had done so by end of month. Farmer-herder tensions 9 March led to clash in Koré village (Ouham-Pendé prefecture, west), leaving one dead and another wounded. Low-level violence between govt forces and rebels persisted during month: notably, govt forces 18 March clashed with Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) in Bouca town (Ouham-Fafa prefecture, north) and 22 March with 3R rebel group in Nzakoundou village (Ouham-Pendé, west), leaving at least two soldiers dead and ten people wounded. Wagner forces early to mid-month reportedly attacked civilians, including 11 March killing dozens in Gondile village (Vakaga prefecture, east) and 12 March killing over 15 in Markounda village (Ouham prefecture, centre). Following 27 Feb arrest on CAR-Chad border, CPC rebel group leader and former Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Minister Maxime Mokom transferred 14 March to International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during 2013-2014 civil war.

Chad

Pre-dialogue with armed groups got off to difficult start, President Mahamat Déby sought to reinforce links with Rwanda, and judges went on countrywide strike. Ahead of national inclusive dialogue planned in May, long-delayed pre-dialogue between Transitional Military Council (CMT) and armed groups 13 March kicked off in Qatari capital Doha. Rebel group Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) representatives same day walked out, demanding Qatar mediate talks and accusing CMT of including large number of armed groups (52 in total) in negotiations to dilute groups’ demands. Qatar immediately suspended negotiations, demanding armed groups select a number of representatives for talks. Committee charged with preparing pre-dialogue and headed by former President Goukkouni Weddeye 9 March dismissed, sparking further suspicion among armed groups in run-up to talks. After groups 22 March split up into three factions, pre-dialogue following day resumed with Qatar mediating. Civil society group Casac, close to CMT, 6 March held demonstration in support of transition and French presence. In Mao city (Kanem region, west), incident toward policeman, which then put judge at risk, prompted strike across judiciary: after gendarmerie and military 10 March beat up and injured policeman, prompting victim’s family 14 March to assault judge in retaliation, judges across country 17-20 March went on strike, demanding increased security for judiciary; judges 22 March prolonged strike indefinitely. Military 27 March molested two other judges in Kelo city in south, sparking strong reactions from magistrate’s unions. Fulani pastoralists and Massa farmers 13 March clashed in Moulkou prefecture (Mako-Kebbi Est region, south west), leaving three dead. Meanwhile, Déby 18 March met Rwandan President Kagame in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, signed general cooperation agreement.

Burundi

Suspected killings at hands of intelligence officers continued across country, insecurity persisted at border with DR Congo’s (DRC) South Kivu, and rapprochement with Rwanda forged ahead. Low-level violence continued to be reported. Notably, unknown assailant 6 March killed woman with machete in Karuzi province, unknown attackers same day stabbed to death man in Makamba province. Locals of Cibitoke province 11 March found three chained bodies, two men and one woman; reliable local sources alleged intelligence officers may have killed all three victims and dumped their bodies in locality; discoveries of corpses increased in frequency in Cibitoke province, with locals indicating that more than eight corpses were found in last five months. Locals 1 March also discovered two bodies in capital Bujumbura and another one in Kirundo province 2 March. Authorities reportedly continued to send soldiers to DRC’s South Kivu to fight Burundian rebels of Résistance pour un Etat de Droit (RED-Tabara); delegation of six governors from Burundian provinces bordering DRC 9 March met with South Kivu counterparts in Uvira territory, South Kivu province, to discuss common interests and ongoing insecurity in region, presence of Burundian soldiers on Congolese soil however not directly discussed. Meanwhile, Rwanda 7 March opened its border to Burundi; Burundian borders however remain closed as authorities insisted that Rwanda hand over those responsible for 2015 coup attempt first. President Ndayishimiye 15 March welcomed Rwandan delegation headed by defence minister, suggesting possible face-to-face meeting between Burundian and Rwandan presidents might take place soon.

Democratic Republic of Congo

ADF rebels expanded further into Ituri province, leaving scores dead, while thousands fled to Uganda following clashes between army and M23 militia. Violence in east spread despite ongoing state of siege and presence of Ugandan army. Notably, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 8 March killed 18 civilians seeking refuge in Kilo-Mission catholic parish, Djugu territory in Ituri province; also continued to detain members of Tshisekedi’s Task Force who were kidnapped in Feb. Meanwhile, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and local Mai-Mai militiamen 9 March clashed in Irumu territory, leaving five people killed; ADF 13-14 March killed at least 52 civilians in four villages in Irumu, and 15 March killed seven civilians in Otomabere village, also in Irumu. In North Kivu province, ADF killed at least 20 civilians in Kikura village, 3km from Ugandan army’s base in Beni area; two ADF groups 12 March killed more than 30 people in Beni, 27 of them in Mambumembume village. A Ugandan military commander 6 March admitted that ADF had spread out into western Ituri, far from Ugandan border. Congolese army 28 March said M23 rebels attacked its positions in east, accusing Rwanda of supporting militia; Rwanda immediately denied accusations. About 6,000 civilians fled to neighbouring Uganda following clashes. Army claimed M23 downed UN helicopter 29 March, killing eight. Meanwhile, electoral preparations kicked off. Notably, President of Independent National Electoral Commission Denis Kadima 3 March published roadmap for upcoming presidential and legislative elections planned for Dec 2023; also scheduled municipal and local elections (which would make it first such elections in DR Congo’s history) in late 2023. Parliament 15 March reconvened, prioritising debate on electoral laws and reforms, including potential two rounds in presidential elections and new law on nationality (which would exclude presidential candidates without Congolese parents such as Moïse Katumbi, one of lead contenders). President Tshisekedi 17 March declared commitment to holding elections on time. François Beya, Tshisekedi’s former special adviser on security, continued to be held at National Intelligence Agency’s premises; local group “Free François Beya” 11 March submitted memorandum to National Commission for Human Rights calling for his trial or release.

Uganda

Crackdown on critics of President Museveni continued and rumours circulated about Army Commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s potential presidential ambitions. Police 10 March arrested nine journalists for “offensive communication”; authorities later released seven of them and 16 March charged two journalists, including author and activist Norman Tumuhimbise, with cyberstalking Museveni. Court 23 March issued arrest warrant for exiled novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who had previously been charged with “offensive communication”. Commander of army’s land forces, Museveni’s son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, 8 March announced his retirement from army on Twitter sparking speculation he was preparing to succeed Museveni as president; Kainerugaba later that day denied resigning, while army 10 March confirmed he had not applied for retirement. Kainerugaba 14 March travelled to Rwandan capital Kigali for second round of talks with Rwandan President Kagame over restoration of bilateral ties following full reopening 7 March of Uganda-Rwanda border. Kainerugaba 17 March travelled to Egypt to meet Egyptian President al-Sisi for talks on strengthening military relations. Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe 3 March gave update on disarmament operation in Karamoja sub-district launched in July 2021, said security forces had killed 251 suspected cattle rustlers, arrested over 1,600 people and recovered 160 guns; Balikudembe also alleged 500 illegally owned guns remain in hands of ethnic Karimojong herders. Military officials 23 March announced alleged Turkana cattle rustlers from Kenya had killed three govt employees and two military personnel 21 March in Moroto district in Karamoja region. Ugandan operations in DR Congo (DRC) continued, reportedly scattering armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) into smaller groups as rebels continued to attack civilians on Congolese soil (see DR Congo). Ugandan forces reportedly deployed additional units along DRC border after M23 rebels 27 March reportedly attacked military positions in DRC; according to military, clashes prompted at least 10,000 Congolese to flee to Uganda as of 29 March. Lawmakers 10 March demanded govt take action against spike in commodity prices attributed to relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and Russian invasion of Ukraine. Following death of Parliament Speaker Jacob Oulanyah 20 March, parliament 25 March elected Deputy Speaker Annet Anita Among as new speaker.

Eritrea

Authorities voted against UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making Eritrea sole country in Africa to do so. Eritrea 2 March joined Russia, Belarus, North Korea and Syria in voting against UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said it was acting in opposition to “illegal” and “unilateral” imposition of sanctions on Russia; 24 March voted against other UN resolution demanding protection of civilians in Ukraine.

Ethiopia

Federal govt declared humanitarian truce to allow aid into Tigray region; violence remained rampant in several other regions. In northern Tigray region, Ethiopian air force 4 March conducted two drone attacks near Bahre-Negash resort and airport in Shire city, North Western Zone; death toll unknown. Federal govt 24 March declared “indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately”, saying it hoped to help facilitate free flow of humanitarian aid into Tigray; Tigray govt next day pledged to respect ceasefire if aid was speedily delivered. In neighbouring Afar region, Tigray forces and Afar regional special forces and militias throughout month continued to clash in Kilbati Rasu (Zone 2). Skirmishes also reported in Amhara region between Tigray forces on one hand, and Amhara regional special forces, Fano militias and Amhara ethnic militias on the other, in Kobo (North Wello Zone) and Sekota (Wag Hamra Zone) districts along Amhara-Tigray border. Also in Amhara region, Fano militiamen around 7-10 March clashed with Amhara regional special forces in East Gojam Zone; four regional police officers killed in Mota town. In Oromia region, fighting between security forces and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) further expanded and intensified in West, North and East Shewa zones. Both sides reportedly targeted civilians: notably, OLA 8 March attacked and reportedly killed seven civilians in Illu Galan district in West Shewa Zone; violence continued next day in and around Ejaji town. Further complicating conflict in Oromia, suspected Fano militia 5-7 March shot dead unknown number of ethnic Karayyu pastoralists in Fentale district of East Shewa Zone. In same area, unidentified assailants 31 March killed 26 people in ambush on Oromia govt-backed militia vehicle. In Benishangul-Gumuz region, unidentified gunmen 2 March ambushed civilian convoy and its military escort in Metekel Zone; 20 soldiers, three civilians and 30 assailants killed; regional security forces and militia next day reportedly rounded up suspects and summarily killed 11, most of them ethnic Tigrayans. Gambela regional govt 12 March said clashes between South Sudanese military and rebels in border areas had in recent days killed at least one and displaced over 9,000 residents of Lare and Jikawo districts, Nuer Zone.

Kenya

Al-Shabaab attacks continued near Somalia border, intercommunal violence persisted in several areas; preparations for Aug general elections moved forward despite tensions. In coastal Lamu county, military around 9 and 20 March killed at least three suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Boni forest, and Al-Shabaab 11 March killed at least five people in attack on construction site in Majengo area. Explosive device 13 March also targeted construction workers in Banisa area, Mandera county (north east), injuring two. Intercommunal violence linked to cattle raiding, land and pasture access but also local political competition left several dead across country. Notably, in Isiolo county, clashes between members of Degodia community from Wajir county and members of Borana community from Isiolo county early March reportedly killed at least five in Degogicha area. In Rift Valley, suspected Pokot militia 5 March reportedly killed at least four people in attacks on several villages in Baringo county; cattle rustlers 20 March reportedly killed two and injured seven in attack in Koitilial village in Elgeyo-Marakwet county. As part of sustained effort to counter hate speech ahead of 9 Aug general elections, National Cohesion and Integration Commission 11 March summoned presidential hopeful Raila Odinga for using divisive language at campaign rally in Wajir county earlier in month. Political parties’ nomination of candidates for legislative and governorship elections sparked tensions. Notably, brawl 7 March broke out between ruling Jubilee Party members in Nakuru county, and clashes next day erupted between supporters of two candidates seeking Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement ticket for governorship elections in Mombasa county. Supreme Court 31 March blocked constitutional changes proposed by President Kenyatta, declaring process unconstitutional; initiative would have strengthened executive powers in move opponents said sought to cement Kenyatta’s ability to shape country’s political future ahead of elections.

Somalia

Al-Shabaab launched deadliest attack to date on election venues leaving almost 50 killed, while Lower House elections inched forward. Al-Shabaab 23 March launched twin suicide attacks near election venue in Hirshabelle state’s Beledweyne city, killing at least 48 including current MP Amina Mohamed Abdi. Al-Shabaab same day raided Mogadishu’s Halane airport compound, breaching airport perimeter for first time since 2014 and killing at least six, including five foreign nationals. Al-Shabaab militants 7 and 15 March also shot dead two electoral delegates in Lower Shabelle region (South West state) and capital Mogadishu respectively. Mortar shelling between Al-Shabaab militants and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldiers on outskirts of Janaale town in Lower Shabelle 8 March left at least five civilians dead. Meanwhile, South West and Galmudug states concluded Lower House elections by 15 March deadline. Puntland state later in month also concluded elections after state President Said Abdullahi Deni 4 March agreed to reinstate Gen Mohamud Abdullahi as head of Puntland Security Force, allowing selection of all 16 seats in Bosasso city next day. Twenty-six seats remained unfulfilled in Jubaland and Hirshabelle states by month’s end. Power struggle between Hirshabelle President Ali Guudlawe and VP Yusuf Dabageed complicated selection of seats in Beledweyne city. Amid wider dispute between Jubaland and federal govts over Gedo region, Garbaharey city’s 16 seats remained problematic: in response to Jubaland administration seeking to shift voting location to Ceel Waaq city in Gedo, federally-appointed governor of Gedo Ahmed Buulle Gareed 16 March said all of Jubaland’s 43 seats should be moved to Garbaharey, implying non-recognition of seats already filled in Kismayo city. Meanwhile, federal election body 15 March set 14 April for swearing-in of elected MPs, but South West and Galmudug states immediately said National Consultative Council (comprising federal and state leaders) should set date instead. U.S. 16 March expanded number of Somalis subject to visa restrictions for “undermining the democratic process”. UN Security Council 31 March endorsed African Union (AU)’s new transitional mission in Somalia, replacing AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), authorised it to take action against al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

Somaliland

Controversy around sequencing of political parties’ selection and presidential election resurfaced, and President Bihi visited U.S. as part of foreign policy offensive. Contradictory public remarks from President Bihi and opposition early March signalled persisting disagreement over timetable for registration of political parties and presidential elections. Bihi around 7 March said registration for new political parties will open in June, followed by presidential election in Nov. In following days, Waddani and UCID opposition parties accused Bihi of seeking to use political party registration process as a means of postponing presidential election and “move away from democracy”. Meanwhile, Bihi 13 March embarked on first visit to U.S., met in following days with State Dept, National Security Council and Congress representatives. U.S. Bureau of African Affairs 14 March welcomed opportunity to discuss “strengthening U.S. engagement with Somaliland within the framework of our single Somalia policy”. Harassment against journalists and curtailment of free speech persisted. Suspected intelligence officers 18 March reportedly fired at vehicle of two journalists in capital Hargeisa.

South Sudan

Fighting between main signatories of 2018 peace deal threatened govt’s unity, herder-farmer violence increased across various states, and deadly clashes peaked in disputed Abyei area. In Upper Nile state, fighting 19-20 March erupted in Maiwut county between President Kiir’s South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and VP Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO); violence 24 March spread to Longechuk county. SPLM/A-IO 22 March pulled out from peace monitoring mechanism, citing recurrent SSPDF attacks against its bases in Upper Nile and Unity states. Troika countries (U.S., U.K. and Norway) supporting peace deal next day expressed concern and called on govt to salvage 2018 peace agreement. SSPDF 24 March said SPLM/A-IO “officially at war” with SSPDF. Machar 26 March rejected Kiir’s directive issued previous day on unification of command structure of regular forces. Machar 28 March said SSPDF forces previous night surrounded his house in capital Juba, said move “weakens trust and confidence building”; Kiir immediately downplayed military deployment to Machar’s house, saying it was regular security routine. Violence continued in Eastern Equatoria state between herders from Jonglei state and local farming communities: Bor Dinka cattle keepers 2 March raided Abara village (Magwi county), killing at least five and displacing hundreds of residents, in apparent retaliatory attack for 27 Feb clashes in same county which left at least 20 Bor Dinka pastoralists killed. In neighbouring Central Equatoria state, suspected Dinka herders around 13 March killed 19 people in Lokiliri Payam, Juba county. In Jonglei state, clashes between suspected Murle cattle raiders and local cattle keepers 7 March left at least 13 people killed in Duk county. In Unity state, cross-border violence between South Sudanese cattle herders and Sudanese nomadic pastoralists 6 March killed seven people and injured 11 others in Payang-gai cattle camp, Rubkona county. In disputed Abyei Administrative Area along border with Sudan, suspected Misseriya militiamen from Sudan and suspected Dinka militiamen from Twic county (Warrap state) 5-6 March killed at least 47 people, including many Ngok Dinka. UN Security Council 15 March extended peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for one year until 15 March 2023.

Sudan

Amid worsening economic crisis, authorities continued crackdown on anti-coup voices and opposition; intercommunal violence killed dozens in Darfur and deadly clashes peaked in disputed Abyei area. Security forces 10 March shot dead two people including 11-year-old boy during anti-coup protests in capital Khartoum and neighbouring Omdurman city. Thousands 17 March protested soaring prices and poor living conditions in Khartoum and across country, prompting clashes with police which left 187 reportedly injured; U.S. Treasury 21 March imposed sanctions on Central Reserve Police unit for using excessive force on protesters. Commission investigating June 2019 killing of over 100 protesters by security forces forced to suspend operations after security forces 7 March raided and seized its offices. Amid series of arrests since Feb of Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC) officials tasked with dismantling remnants of former President al-Bashir’s regime, authorities 8 March arrested prominent politician and ERC member Babiker Faisal, reportedly on breach of trust charges. Amid deteriorating economic situation, Central Bank 7 March floated country’s currency in effort to stabilise Sudanese pound’s exchange rate; currency next day devalued by 19%. UN mission to Sudan (UNITAMS) and African Union 10 March announced joint initiative with regional trade bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to help safeguard democratic transition. In briefing to UN Security Council, UN Envoy Volker Perthes 28 March warned Sudan is heading for “economic and security collapse” unless political deadlock is addressed; UN agencies 23 March said number of Sudanese facing acute hunger likely to double to 18mn by Sept due to economic crisis, conflict and poor harvests. Violence in Darfur and along border with South Sudan killed dozens. Notably, in Jebel Moon mountains, West Darfur state, clashes between Arab nomads and farmers from Misseriya Jebel tribe 5-7 March killed at least 16; renewed tribal violence 10 March killed at least 19 people in same region. Local authorities 31 March said fresh fighting between Fallata and Rizeigat tribes 29-30 March killed 45 people in villages outside South Darfur state capital Nyala. Violence 5-6 March flared in disputed Abyei area between Sudan and South Sudan, leaving at least 47 people dead (see South Sudan).

Tanzania

In step toward reconciliation, authorities engaged in dialogue with newly released opposition leader Freeman Mbowe. Authorities 4 March released chairman of main opposition party Chadema, Freeman Mbowe, and three others from prison after prosecutors dropped terrorism-related charges levelled against them following arrest in July 2021; Mbowe hours later met with President Suluhu Hassan, both pledged to build trust. Chadema Deputy Chairman Tundu Lissu 12 March announced intention to return to Tanzania from self-imposed exile in Belgium, saying he was “positive” Suluhu Hassan would give him security assurances. Significant differences however persisted between govt and Chadema, notably over Chadema’s demand for constitutional reform: Mbowe 18 March announced Chadema would boycott cross-party national dialogue initiative scheduled for 30-31 March as agenda failed to include talks on new constitution; president’s office around 22 March said issue of new constitution would be addressed after 2025 general elections. PM Kassim Majaliwa 24 March reaffirmed commitment to anti-terrorism efforts in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province during East Africa regional security conference in Jordan.

Mozambique

Islamist militants continued to carry out attacks on several fronts in northern Cabo Delgado province, notably engaging in one of most significant clashes with security forces in recent months. Militants 15-17 March engaged in fierce fighting with security forces on Matemo island, Ibo district, reportedly leaving at least 17 dead on both sides; Islamic State (ISIS) social media channels later published images of several beheaded soldiers. Militants early March consolidated their presence around Litingina town in Nangade district, sparking fears that Nangade town itself may be vulnerable to attack. Notably, insurgents 3 March attacked Unidade village, killing unspecified number of people, and hours later moved to Litingina, with one source reporting three civilians killed and insurgents occupying town; next day reportedly beheaded three people in Chibau village, and 5 March raided Malamba village, killing up to seven people. In response, forces of Southern African Development Community, military and local militia 7 March launched ground assault with aerial support on insurgents’ base in Machava village, reportedly killing over 30. Militants 11 March however attacked Namuembe village, and 18 March beheaded two people in Litingina before clashing with police. In neighbouring Mueda district, suspected Islamist militants 20 and 24 March killed three people including two women in two villages. Violence in Macomia district showed no sign of abating: insurgents launched repeated assaults on military garrison in Nova Zambezia village, killing at least one soldier overnight 6-7 March, and five people including female militia fighter and one soldier 8 March; ISIS claimed both attacks; further fighting reported 24 March on northern edge of Macomia town. Amid food shortages, insurgents week of 21-27 March seemingly released around 200 hostages across Macomia, Muidumbe and Mocímboa da Praia districts. Reports of abuses continued to erode trust in govt forces: police or military officers 4 March reportedly shot dead young man in Macomia district. As part of major cabinet reshuffle, President Nyusi 3 March sacked PM Carlos Agostinho do Rosário; move allegedly aims to stem political damage caused by ongoing trial of 19 senior officials in $2bn corruption scandal ahead of ruling Frelimo party conference in Sept.

Zimbabwe

Following tense electoral campaign, main opposition party emerged as major winner in legislative and municipal by-elections. Nelson Chamisa’s newly established Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) won 19 National Assembly seats in 26 March by-elections to fill 28 vacant seats following recalls, deaths and dismissals over last two years; ruling ZANU-PF party won remainder, including two seats previously controlled by opposition, and retains two-thirds majority in parliament. CCC also claimed winning 61% of seats in local govt by-elections. Voter turnout low at 35%. Run-up to elections marred by tensions and violence. Police repeatedly blocked CCC rallies, notably in Marondera city 12 March. CCC next day said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and police biased in favour of ZANU-PF party, noting ruling party rallies have gone unhindered. Police 17 March allegedly assaulted CCC supporter Muleya Mwananyanda in Harare Central District; NGO Amnesty International next day denounced “brutal and vicious assault”, raised alarm about “partisan policing and torture”. Masvingo High Court 19 March authorised CCC to hold major rally in Masvingo city next day, after CCC filed urgent chamber application seeking reprieve over police ban on rally; brawls erupted between party youths during rally.

Côte d’Ivoire