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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 2021

Africa

Nigeria

Overall security situation deteriorated further notably due to violent escalation in South East. In South East, suspected members of Eastern Security Network, armed wing of outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra 6-30 May killed at least 25 security personnel, mostly police officers, in Ebonyi, Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states; 30 May allegedly assassinated prominent northern politician, Ahmed Gulak, in Imo state. Herder-farmer violence displaced thousands in several states and left about 60 people killed in Bali area of Taraba state 13-16 May; at least 14 killed in Jos South area of Plateau state 23 May; and about 55 killed in Katsina-Ala and Ado areas of Benue state 27 and 30 May. Attacks and abductions continued in North West. In Kaduna state, gunmen 19 May attacked two villages, killing 11. In Katsina state, gunmen 8 May killed 11 in Safana area, 10 May abducted 45 in Jibia area and 18 May abducted 21 in Batsari area. In Niger state, armed groups 5 May killed eight and abducted over 100 in Shadadi town; 30 May abducted about 200 children in Rafi area; and next day killed at least 15 in Mariga area. In Sokoto state, armed groups 21-23 May killed 25 in Sabon Birni, Isah and Rabah areas. In Zamfara state, armed groups 22 May killed 19 farmers and two police officers across Gusau, Maradun and Zurmi areas; 24-25 May, killed 20 in Bungudu area. Meanwhile, several media organisations 20 May reported Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram faction (JAS), had blown himself up or was seriously wounded in attempt to kill himself to escape capture by rival group Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Borno state (north east); move followed major ISWAP offensive on Shekau’s Sambisa forest stronghold and seizure of territories formerly under his control. ISWAP also attacked military base in Borno’s Ajiri town 2-3 May; fighting killed five soldiers, 15 members of Civilian Joint Task Force and at least six civilians. Military killed at least 59 insurgents throughout month, including at least 40 in Konduga area mid-month.

April 2021

Africa

Nigeria

Country’s multiple violent conflicts further escalated, notably in Borno and Zamfara states, leaving hundreds killed and tens of thousands displaced. In North East, jihadists stepped up attacks as Ramadan started 12 April. Notably, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 10-14 April launched three attacks on Damasak town, Borno state, killing at least 20 civilians and displacing about 65,000. Boko Haram combatants from Abubakar Shekau-led faction (JAS) 9 April killed at least 11 civilians in Hong area, Adamawa state, with 5,000 more displaced. ISWAP 23-28 April seized strategic Geidam town, Yobe state, 26 April overran army camp in Mainok town, Borno state, killing about 33 soldiers. Herder-farmer and intercommunal violence rose in several states. Notably, gunmen killed at least 17 farmers in Guma area, Benue state, 23-24 April; 14 farmers in Doma and Keana areas, Nasarawa state, 24-27 April; 19 herders in Awkuzu town, Anambra state, 26 April. Violence involving Fulani traders and vigilantes, followed by armed attacks on villages 19-22 April left at least 83 killed in Maru, Bakura and Maradun areas of Zamfara state. Local militia 8 April killed 11 soldiers amid intercommunal violence in Konshisha area, Benue state. In North West and North Centre, kidnappings for ransom and other violence ran high. In Niger state, gunmen 31 March-1 April killed at least 14, including six soldiers, in Shiroro area, 21 April attacked military camp in Munya area, and 24 April kidnapped 35 in Shiroro and Munya areas. In Kaduna state, gunmen 20-22 April abducted 100 in Chikun and Kajuru areas, later killing at least five of them. In South East and South South, gunmen stepped up attacks on security personnel and facilities, but also ethnic Hausa and Fulani northerners, killing 13 northerners in Enugu and Imo states 29 March-3 April, and freeing over 1,800 inmates at Owerri prison in Imo state 5 April. Authorities blamed Eastern Security Network (ESN), armed wing of outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and security forces 24 April raided ESN headquarters in Awomama town, Imo state, killing 11 including senior commanders. IPOB immediately promised “hell” to those involved.

March 2021

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadists mounted significant attacks in north east, criminal violence continued unabated in north west, and suspected Biafra secessionists’ attacks on security forces persisted in south east. In Borno state in north east, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) targeted major humanitarian hub and military base despite military operations. Insurgents 1-2 March attacked Dikwa town, setting UN office ablaze and forcing evacuation of aid workers from Dikwa, Monguno and Ngala towns. ISWAP 11 March ambushed military convoy near Gudumbali town, reportedly killing 15 soldiers and four Multinational Joint Task Force troops, and 14 March attacked army’s super camp in Damasak town, killing at least 12 soldiers. Special forces 15 March reportedly killed 41 jihadists in operations near Gamboru and Ngala towns; 27 March killed 48 members of Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau (JAS) around Chibok and Askira towns. UN humanitarian office 16 March reported “worst [humanitarian] outlook in four years” in north east, with close to 2mn people internally displaced and up to 5.1mn facing hunger during lean season. In north west, armed group violence remained high. Notably, in Zamfara state, unidentified gunmen 16 March attacked Kabasa village, killing at least ten, including three soldiers; army said troops thwarted attack, killing scores. Also in Zamfara, 279 female students kidnapped late Feb released 2 March. In neighbouring Kaduna state, unidentified gunmen 11 March abducted 39 students in Afaka town; 15 March abducted several students and three teachers at primary school in Birnin Gwari area, later freed all children; 18 March killed 13 and burnt 56 houses in Zangon Kataf, Kauru and Chikun areas. Herder-farmer relations continued to deteriorate in south, with many incidents of violence, notably 27 people killed 28-29 March in attacks on four farming villages in Ebonyi state (south east) by suspected herders. Also in south east, attacks on police personnel and facilities by suspected members of Eastern Security Network (ESN), paramilitary wing of secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), continued; troops 24 March killed 16 ESN in Aba town, Abia state.

February 2021

Africa

Nigeria

Criminal groups abducted hundreds in north west, while ethnic and regional tensions ran high in south amid farmer-herder conflict; meanwhile, tensions rose in south east between govt and Biafra secessionists. Criminal groups in Feb reportedly killed at least 112 and kidnapped over 450 people, mostly in Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zamfara states (north west), but also in Niger state (Middle Belt). Notably, armed group 17 Feb abducted 42 students and school personnel in Niger state, released them 27 Feb; 26 Feb kidnapped 279 girls in Zamfara state. Meanwhile, Auwalun Daudawa, who masterminded Dec 2020 abduction of 344 students in Katsina state, 8 Feb laid down arms along with five of his troops. Amid rise in herder-farmer and intercommunal violence in south since Jan, clashes between ethnic Hausa and Fulani on one hand, and ethnic Yoruba on the other, early Feb killed two dozen people in Oyo state capital Ibadan (south west). Nobel laureate in literature Wole Soyinka 6 Feb warned situation could spiral into civil war and former President Abdulsalam Abubakar 16 Feb said it could lead to “point of no return”. In Imo state (south east), security forces stepped up operations against Eastern Security Network (ESN), paramilitary wing of outlawed secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); army 18 Feb deployed helicopters and hundreds of troops in Orlu and Orsu areas, razing several ESN camps; IPOB same day said govt had triggered “second Nigeria-Biafra war”. Boko Haram (BH) attacks continued in Borno state (north east) despite military operations. Army 9-10 Feb repelled insurgent attacks on base in Rann town and on Askira Uba town, killing at least 50 combatants. BH splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province 15 Feb killed at least seven soldiers in Marte area; next day launched coordinated attacks in Marte and Gubio areas, death toll unknown; 19 Feb raided several villages in Dikwa area, displacing thousands. BH rocket attack on state capital Maiduguri 23 Feb reportedly left 16 dead. Military 15 Feb said troops had killed some 80 insurgents from BH faction led by Abubakar Shekau (JAS) in “recent” operations in Sambisa forest; at least two senior JAS figures reportedly among those killed.

January 2021

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadist attacks and criminal violence continued unabated in north east and north west. Attacks by Boko Haram (BH) factions against military continued in Borno state (north east) despite military operations. Notably, suicide bombing by BH splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) 11 Jan killed six soldiers in Talala village and ISWAP insurgents 15 Jan reportedly temporarily took over army base in Marte town; number of casualties unknown. Army 3 Jan launched new counter-insurgency operation to dislodge BH factions from Borno state (notably islands of Lake Chad), parts of Adamawa and Yobe states, reportedly killing over 60 combatants in Yobe state 9-10 Jan and “several” others in airstrikes in Konduga, Kaga and Bama areas of Borno state 12-14 Jan. Armed criminal groups continued to launch attacks and abductions across several regions, reportedly killing at least 71 security personnel and civilians and kidnapping at least 191 people throughout month in Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna states (north west), Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi states (Middle Belt), and Taraba state (east). Meanwhile, security forces continued operations to stem violence in north west. Notably, military 9 Jan reportedly killed at least 50 gunmen in Kaura Namoda area and 17 Jan killed another 35 in two separate clashes in Bungudu and Maradun areas, all Zamfara state. Amid mounting pressure from Senate, President Buhari 26 Jan dismissed four military chiefs. Farmer-herder tensions continued. Governor of Ondo state in south west 18 Jan issued seven-day ultimatum to ethnic Fulani herders to vacate state’s forest reserves which have turned into hideouts for criminals; order yet to be enforced; in Ibarapo area of neighbouring Oyo state, ethnic Yoruba mobs 22 Jan attacked Fulani communities, killing at least three. In Imo state in south east, secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra 25 Jan clashed with security forces in Orlu area, reportedly leaving several killed. 

December 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadist and criminal violence continued in north east and north west, while authorities came under international scrutiny. Boko Haram (BH) factions continued to launch attacks in north-eastern Borno state despite ongoing military operations. BH combatants 7-30 Dec killed at least 24 security personnel, one civilian and abducted at least 38 people including two aid workers in Damboa, Konduga, Jakana, Mafa and Jere areas. Army 6-8 Dec killed 13 combatants apparently from BH faction led by Abubakar Shekau (JAS) in Magumeri, Bama and Gwoza areas; airstrikes 11 Dec killed “several” JAS combatants in Gwoza area; army next day repelled attack in Askira-Uba area by same faction, killing over 20 combatants. Suspected JAS suicide attack 19 Dec killed three civilians in Konduga town. BH 24 Dec killed 11 civilians in Pemi village. Armed group violence and abductions continued in north west, particularly Katsina state: gunmen 11 Dec stormed secondary school in Kankara town and abducted over 300 schoolboys; govt and local security officials immediately blamed attack on criminal groups but Shekau 15 Dec claimed responsibility; schoolboys released 17 Oct. Also in Katsina, armed group 17 Dec attacked convoy of traditional and religious ruler from Kaura Namoda town (Zamfara state), in Funtua area, killing eight guards; 19 Dec briefly kidnapped about 80 Islamic school students in Dandume area. In Niger state (Middle Belt), armed groups 8-15 Dec killed four and abducted around 30 civilians, prompting 5,000 others to flee. In Enugu state (south east), unidentified gunmen 26 Dec killed Oruku community’s traditional chief in Nkanu East area. Federal parliament 1 Dec summoned President Buhari over insecurity in north, reflecting rising discontent including within ruling party; Buhari rejected convocation, claiming lawmakers lack power to summon him on security matters. Meanwhile, govt suffered international setbacks. U.S. 7 Dec designated Nigeria as “country of particular concern” with regard to religious freedom, paving way for sanctions. Office of International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor 11 Dec said there is “reasonable basis to believe” that both BH and security forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Nigeria, concluded ICC investigation is warranted. 

November 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadist and criminal violence continued in North East and North West, and authorities cracked down on instigators of #EndSARS protest movement. In Borno state in North East, jihadists 1 Nov killed 12 civilians and kidnapped nine others in Chibok town. Landmine laid by jihadists next day killed nine soldiers in Abadam town. Boko Haram (BH) 21 Nov killed seven soldiers and two civilians in attack on Borno state governor’s convoy on Gajiram-Monguno axis. Jihadists 28 Nov killed at least 43 farmers and abducted unconfirmed number of people in Zabarmari village near state capital Maiduguri. Meanwhile, army and vigilantes 2 Nov killed “scores” of BH insurgents in Nganzai town, and airstrikes 8 and 10 Nov targeted Islamic State West Africa Province and BH insurgents in Abadam and Gwoza towns, death toll unknown. In North West, criminal violence continued to take high toll on civilians. In Kaduna state, unidentified gunmen 6-7 Nov abducted 13 in Dande village, Chikun area, and near state capital Kaduna; 15-17 Nov killed at least 16 and abducted many others in several attacks across state. In Katsina state, unidentified gunmen 8 Nov killed three civilians and kidnapped 13 others in Sabuwa area; same day kidnapped six police officers in Dogondaji area. In Zamfara state, unidentified gunmen 11 Nov killed civilian and abducted five others in Anka area; 20 Nov attacked mosque in Dutsen Gari village, reportedly killing five and abducting 18 others, including imam; 30 Nov killed eight civilians and abducted 38 in Talata-Mafara area. In South, clashes between rival cult groups, notably Aye and Eiye, 1-15 Nov killed over 40, mostly around Edo state capital Benin City. After protests against Special Anti-Robbery Unit (SARS) turned deadly last month, govt late Oct-early Nov launched legal action against individuals and organisations affiliated with protest movement, including seizing travel documents and freezing bank accounts.

October 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Protests against police brutality and impunity  turned violent in major cities, while jihadist and criminal violence persisted in North East and North West. Peaceful protests 5 Oct started in federal capital Abuja and largest city, Lagos, following public outcry at 3 Oct video showing police unit Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) shooting unarmed man in Ughelli town in Delta state. Federal govt 11 Oct acceded to protestors’ primary demand by disbanding SARS unit; govt 13 Oct however announced creation of new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to replace old unit which angered protesters. Protests subsequently grew, involving tens of thousands, and increasingly turned violent as authorities forcefully dispersed protesters, armed pro-police thugs attacked demonstrators, and looting and criminal violence erupted across many cities. Soldiers 20 Oct opened fire at protesters in Lagos city, killing at least a dozen according to rights groups; govt denied killings. Mobs subsequently destroyed at least 25 police stations, killed or wounded dozens of officers, facilitated jailbreaks enabling over 2,000 to flee, ransacked shopping malls and looted food warehouses. Govt 23 Oct reported 69 people killed in protest-related violence, including civilians, police officers and soldiers. As of 25 Oct, 27 state govts and Federal Capital Territory had set up judicial panels to investigate police abuses. Meanwhile, jihadist violence persisted in north-eastern Borno state despite counter-insurgency operations. Jihadists 12 Oct killed 14 farmers in Ngwom village; 16 Oct attacked Jakana military base, killing 14 soldiers; 25 Oct slaughtered eight farmers in Moranti village outside state capital Maiduguri. Military 1 and 17 Oct killed unspecified number of insurgents in air strikes in Ngala and Dikwa areas respectively; 25 Oct repelled insurgents’ attack on army camp in Damboa area, killing at least 20. Armed group attacks and kidnappings persisted in North West. Bandits 3-13 Oct abducted 28 civilians and killed six vigilantes in Katsina, Niger and Kaduna states, while community vigilantes 13 Oct killed 14 Fulani youths suspected of collaborating with local bandits in Wurma village, Katsina state. Bandits 29 Oct attacked villages in Dandume area, Katsina state, and Maradun area, Zamfara state, killing at least 21 including police and vigilantes.

September 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadists continued to target civilians and military in north east, while criminal violence persisted in north west and centre, spreading closer to capital Abuja. In north-eastern Borno state, suspected jihadists 1 Sept attacked army post in Magumeri town, killing at least ten soldiers; 6, 15 and 17 Sept launched several attacks on civilians, killing at least 24; and 25 Sept attacked state governor’s convoy near Baga town, reportedly killing up to 30. Meanwhile, in continued fight against jihadists, army 14 and 18 Sept killed 20 insurgents near Borno state capital Maiduguri and in neighbouring Yobe state’s Bade village; 20 Sept killed “scores” of insurgents after they ambushed and killed army colonel near Damboa town same day; 24-25 Sept launched airstrikes in several areas of Borno, leaving unknown number of insurgents dead. In north west, bandits and other criminal groups continued attacks and kidnappings, killing eight civilians and two police officers and abducting at least 44 civilians in Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states 14-27 Sept. Military 13-17 Sept reportedly killed several armed group members in airstrikes in Zamfara state’s Birnin-Magaji area and Maru town; 24 Sept killed 21 unidentified gunmen in Faskari area, Katsina state, but lost three soldiers including army colonel. Insecurity persisted in Middle Belt in centre. In Niger state, unidentified gunmen 2-4 Sept killed at least 23 civilians and abducted 53 others in several villages in Rafi, Rijau and Shiroro areas.  Security concerns increased around federal capital Abuja. Unidentified gunmen 10 Sept kidnapped at least ten residents in Tungan Maje village, Federal Capital Territory. In neighbouring Nasarawa state, unidentified gunmen 14 Sept ambushed federal road safety agency convoy on Mararaban-Udege axis, killing two officers and kidnapping ten.

August 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadist and criminal violence continued in north east and north west, and herder-farmer tensions persisted in many states. In Borno state in north east, Boko Haram (BH) and BH faction Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) attacks continued despite airstrikes by govt forces, which left dozens of insurgents killed 11-17 Aug notably on Lake Chad islands and in Sambisa forest. Suicide bomber 2 Aug killed herself and two others in Konduga town. Suspected ISWAP 10 Aug reportedly killed 13 civilians and several soldiers in Magumeri and Kukawa towns. After ISWAP 18 Aug again attacked Kukawa town, local sources reported they took hundreds hostage, while military said troops thwarted attack, killing eight insurgents and losing three soldiers. In Nasarawa state, near capital Abuja, troops 26 Aug raided camp of little-known Islamist group Darul Salam in Toto area; military reported over 400 group members surrendered, and troops seized artisanal explosive device-making factory and assault weapons. In north west, security operations against armed groups killed at least 25 and curbed attacks in some areas; but raids on villages continued, particularly in southern Kaduna state, leaving 33 killed in Zango Kataf area 6-8 Aug, and 11 others in Zango Kataf, Kajuru and Kachia areas 16-19 Aug. In Katsina state, gunmen 9 Aug abducted several women in Kurfi area. In Niger state, armed group 12 Aug killed 15 civilians in Ukuru village, Mariga area. Concerns over jihadist groups forging links with armed groups in North West continued. Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa 5 Aug warned against “al-Qaeda starting to make some inroads” there. Amid persistent tensions between herders and farmers and other communal violence in many states, prominent Fulani herders’ group 13 Aug accused community vigilantes of killing 68 Fulani civilians in Kebbi state 29 April-11 Aug, warned “large conflict” was looming. In alleged fallout from long-running chieftaincy-related dispute, gunmen 10 Aug killed at least 13 in Edikwu village, Benue state.

July 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Jihadists resumed attacks on Borno state capital in north east, armed groups inflicted heavy toll on army in north west, and attacks on farming communities spiked in Middle Belt. In Borno state in north east, insurgents 2 July shot UN helicopter near Damasak town, prompting UN to pause humanitarian flights to review risk assessments. Suspected Boko Haram faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) 7-16 July killed about 50 soldiers, including 37 in ambush along Maiduguri-Damboa highway 7 July. Troops 13 July repelled first insurgents’ attack in state capital Maiduguri in several months, and 19 July repelled ISWAP attack on army’s super camp in Damasak town, killing eight ISWAP commanders. ISWAP same day killed five humanitarian workers abducted in June. Insurgents 30 July fired four rocket-propelled explosives into Maiduguri killing seven, in second major security breach of city long considered beyond insurgent’s reach. In north west, military reported 80 armed men killed in operations 1-31 July, while armed groups continued attacks mainly in Katsina and Zamfara states. In Katsina, unidentified gunmen 6 July killed at least 25 in Yar Gamji village in Batsari area; first explosive device attack in Katsina 18 July killed seven children in Yammama village, Malumfashi area; armed group same day ambushed army unit in Jibia area, inflicting heavy toll on military by killing at least 23 soldiers; 20 July abducted seventeen women in Zakka town, Safana area. In Zamfara, armed group 6 July stormed Danfana village, Maru area, killing seven and abducting 20. Air force 9, 20 and 23 July bombed armed groups’ hideouts in Zamfara state forest, killing unspecified numbers. With armed groups deploying increasingly sophisticated weapons, army 10 July reported growing indications of connections between them and jihadist groups. Intercommunal violence and attacks on farming communities flared in Middle Belt, killing dozens. In southern part of Kaduna state, armed attacks on farming communities 9-24 July killed over 70 residents in Kaura, Kajuru, Kauru and Zangon Kataf areas. In Benue state’s Logo area, unidentified assailants 10 July killed seven in Chembe village. In other communal violence, unidentified gunmen 29 July killed fourteen at Agbudu village, Kogi state.

June 2020

Africa

Nigeria

Boko Haram factions launched deadly attacks on civilians in north east, armed groups’ attacks on villages left over 140 dead despite military offensives in north west, and ethnic and herder-farmer violence persisted in several states. In Borno state in north east, local security official 11 June said insurgents had carried out 19 attacks since start of month; notably, Boko Haram splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) 9 June killed at least 81 and abducted seven including village head in Faduma Kolomdi village, Gubio area. ISWAP 11 June released video showing execution of abducted soldier and policeman; 13 June attacked Usmanati Goni village in Nganzai area, killing at least 35; 28 June released video of five aid workers abducted earlier in month and reportedly demanded $500,000 ransom. Troops 11 June repelled insurgents’ attack on Monguno town, killing at least 41 insurgents; two soldiers also killed. Troops 27 June clashed with insurgents along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu road, at least 20 insurgents and ten soldiers reported killed. In north west, military launched several ground and air operations against members of armed groups, notably killing 70 in Kaduna state’s Kachia forest 5 June and scores of others including prominent armed group leader in Zamfara state’s Doumborou forest 23 June. However, armed assailants continued to attack villages, killing over 140 civilians and abducting dozens in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states. Notably, gunmen 9 June killed 60 villagers in Faskari, Dandume and Sabuwa areas of Katsina state, 2-3 June killed at least 21 in Maru and Talata Mafara areas, 20 June killed at least 26 in Ruwan Tofa village in Maru area, all in Zamfara state. Herder-farmer and ethnic violence persisted in several states: notably, nine people killed 3 June in Kajuru area, Kaduna state; nine farmers killed 14 June in Adana village, Benue state; and three farmers killed 19 June in Adiyani village, Jigawa state.