Tracking Conflict Worldwide
Our monthly conflict tracker highlights one conflict resolution opportunity in July.
In Ethiopia, the Tigray leadership and the federal government both announced their readiness for direct talks, which could begin within weeks, marking a turning point in the long-running civil war.
CrisisWatch assesses deteriorations in six countries in June, including:
Violence skyrocketed in Mali, leaving hundreds killed as jihadist groups launched multiple attacks and engaged in intense fighting with security forces, notably in central regions.
In Mozambique, Islamist insurgents advanced into the southern districts of Cabo Delgado province, launching attacks in areas previously unaffected by the nearly five-year old insurgency.
After leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party made derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad, tensions rose as thousands took to the streets across India.
Anti-government protests demanding lower fuel prices and limits to the expansion of extractive industries turned violent in Ecuador as demonstrators clashed with security forces.
Last, our conflict tracker welcomes two improvements in June.
In Colombia, all parties recognised the presidential victory of leftist candidate and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, paving the way for a peaceful transfer of power and quelling fears of post-electoral violence.
Warring parties renewed the UN-mediated April truce in Yemen for two months, making it the longest pause in effect since the start of the war in 2015.
Aside from the scores of conflict situations we usually assess, we track notable developments in June in Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, and Togo.
Our CrisisWatch Digests for Ethiopia, Lebanon and Somalia offer a monthly one-page snapshot of conflict-related country trends in a clear, accessible format, using a map of the region to pinpoint developments:
Jihadist violence continued to rage across country, notably in north where militants killed over 80 civilians in one single attack and targeted mining areas. Jihadist raids left heavy toll on civilians in Sahel region (north). Suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 9 June attacked gendarmerie in Seytenga town (Seno province), killing 11 gendarmes; 11-12 June returned to Seytenga and killed 86 civilians over their perceived collaboration with security forces, leaving 20,000 displaced. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) continued to close in on Djibo town (Soum province, also Sahel), killing six people 2 June; security forces killed seven jihadists in response. In North region, JNIM 9 June attacked Karma gold mine (Yatenga province), killing two civilians and one soldier; security forces killed up to 27 assailants in counter-offensive. Jihadist groups continued expansion across Centre-North region notably in Bam province: presumed JNIM 11 June reportedly killed six civilians in Alga village, and unidentified group 18 June killed 13 people in Somlamisguima artisanal mining site near Biliga village. In Namentenga province, presumed jihadists 16 June killed two civilians and eight volunteer fighters in Boroum town. Security situation in East region remained precarious. Notably, JNIM 5 June killed 12 militiamen in ambush near Nagré town (Gourma province). In Boucle du Mouhoun region in west, presumed JNIM militants 9 June attacked joint army-gendarmerie position in Barani town; four soldiers and between ten and 20 militants killed. Transitional assembly 6 June granted govt rapid intervention powers in security matters, and authorities 20 June created two “military interest zones” where “human presence is prohibited” in Sahel and East regions. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 4 June postponed decision on imposing sanctions on Burkina Faso to 3 July; also appointed as mediator former Nigerien President Issoufou, who 18 June met with President Lt Col Damiba in capital Ouagadougou. Govt 29 June unveiled electoral calendar scheduling constitutional referendum for late 2024 and general elections for Feb 2025. Group of 58 political parties 17 June called for former President Kaboré’s release; Damiba 21 June met with Kaboré in effort to ease political tensions.
Rampant jihadist violence and counter-insurgency operations left hundreds killed, mostly in central regions; President Goïta announced two-year transition period before elections. In Bandiagara region (centre), al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM)-linked Katiba Macina 18-19 June killed 132 civilians in multiple attacks in Bankass district; military 11 June killed at least 13 JNIM militants including three commanders in air and ground operation near Makou town. In neighbouring Mopti region, JNIM-led siege of Boni town (Douentza district), which started 25 May, continued throughout month. Further west in Koulikoro region, military 6-8 June killed ten JNIM militants in Banamba district. In northern Gao region, JNIM ambush 2 June left 11 soldiers dead near Doro village, and suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 18 June killed at least 20 civilians in several hamlets of Anchawadj commune (both Gao district). French Barkhane forces 12 June arrested ISGS leader Oumeya Ould Albakaye in Ansongo district of Gao region. Further east in Ménaka region, govt forces joined 2015 peace agreement signatory groups to launch joint offensive to recapture strategic town of Andéramboukane from ISGS; clashes 4-5 June reportedly killed around 115, including 90 jihadists, but town remained under jihadist control. ISGS 12 June killed 22 people, including displaced persons, near Izingaz village (Tidermène district). West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS heads of state 4 June postponed decision on lifting sanctions on Mali to next summit on 3 July. Transitional President Col Goïta 6 June unilaterally set transition’s length at 24 months, starting 26 March 2022; ECOWAS 7 June “regretted” decision, said dialogue would continue. Govt 30 June adopted electoral calendar scheduling constitutional referendum for March 2023 and presidential election for Feb 2024. After UN mission MINUSMA late May accused govt forces of human rights abuses, UN Sec Gen António Guterres 1 June highlighted authorities’ diminishing control over territory and active hindering of MINUSMA activities. UN Security Council 29 June renewed mission’s mandate for another year, called for govt to allow free movement for peacekeepers to investigate human rights abuses; Russia, which campaigned against mission’s rights mandate, abstained.
Jihadist violence continued in Tillabery and Diffa regions, and President Bazoum reiterated willingness to talk with jihadists. Insecurity persisted in Tillabery region. In Gotheye department, suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 14 June killed at least eight soldiers and wounded 33 in attack on Waraou town; in response, French Barkhane forces same day carried out airstrike against retreating assailants near Burkina Faso border, killing around 40. In Banibangou department, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara militants 7 June attacked Diné-Ara and Inékar towns, causing unknown casualties, and 11 June killed two local vigilantes in Tizegorou locality. In rare attack within Niamey capital district, suspected JNIM militants 7 June killed one soldier and wounded another in Bougoum town. Joint anti-insurgency operation made headway in Diffa region, but jihadist attacks continued. Multinational Joint Task Force (which comprises militaries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria) 8 June announced operation Lake Sanity 28 March-4 June killed over 800 Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants in Lake Chad basin. ISWAP militants 7 June killed one soldier in attack on army position in Djalori town (Diffa department); 14 June attacked customs post in Mainé-Soroa department, killing one. Meanwhile, President Bazoum continued efforts to engage local jihadist leaders in talks. Bazoum 3 June visited Makalondi commune (Torodi department, Tillabery region), called on jihadists to demobilise, promising reinsertion into society; 9 June visited Téra town (Téra department, Tillabery region), called for greater cooperation with Mali and Burkina Faso to stabilise shared borders. Amid continued popular opposition to French presence, Bazoum in 8 June interview with West African media outlets said he was “not a valet of France”. Nigerien, Nigerian and Algerian energy ministers around 20 June met in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in effort to revive trans-Saharan pipeline project to transport gas to Europe.
Amid ongoing violence in Anglophone areas, separatist launched attacks in Francophone regions; meanwhile, jihadists conducted deadly assaults on civilians in Far North. Violence continued in Anglophone areas. Notably, govt forces 1 June killed nine civilians including four men, four women and 18-month old child in Missong village, Zhoa town, North West (NW); govt 7 June said four suspected soldiers arrested. Separatists 8 June reportedly clashed with soldiers in Mamfe city, South West (SW), leaving unknown casualties, while unknown gunmen same day burnt down Mamfe General Hospital; separatists 11 June killed a gendarme and wounded at least another in Nkwen locality, Bamenda region (NW); 13 June killed two special forces soldiers during intense fighting in Kom locality, Boyo division (NW). Govt forces reported killing five separatist fighters on 26 June in Yelum locality, Bui division, NW. Separatists spread offensives to Francophone areas, including 8 June launched attack on special forces gendarmerie post in Njitapon locality, Kouoptamo town, leaving five soldiers dead and two injured; 10 June launched another attack in Penda Mboko village, Mbanga town, Littoral region, killing one gendarme. Meanwhile, gunmen 25-26 June killed around 30 people in land dispute between two ethnic groups in Akwaya town, SW. In Far North region, Boko Haram (BH) insurgents continued their attacks on civilians. Notably, jihadists 3 June took control of Hidoua and Hitawa villages, Torou locality; three days later, army expelled rebels. In Gakara village, Kerawa locality, BH 5 June killed two people, then same day killed two others in Grea village, Kolofata locality. In Ndrok village, Torou locality, BH insurgents 13 June launched another attack, killing three. Bomb 14 June exploded in Fotokol town, killing one child. Also in far north, BH 15 June killed five civilians and burnt 30 homes in Darak town; 25 June killed two soldiers at Boudouwa village, Mora town. Authorities 3 June held joint security commission meeting with Central African Republic (CAR) officials in Ngaoundere city, Adamawa region (near CAR border), pledged to jointly fight CAR rebels infiltrating Cameroonian refugee camps.
Central African Republic
Civil society coalition spoke up against constitutional change which could pave way for President Touadéra’s third term; operations against rebel groups continued. New civil society coalition Groupe d’Action des Organisations de la Société Civile pour la Défense de la Constitution du 30 Mars 2016 (G-16) 8 June called on President Touadéra to drop bill (introduced in late May) proposing constitutional amendments; coalition – which includes civil society and other leading figures, such as Joseph Bindoumi, president of Central African League of Human Rights – expressed concerns about removal of two-term presidential limit, which could pave way for Touadéra’s third term. Former President François Bozizé, exiled in Chad since early 2021, 20 June published declaration calling for political transition without Touadéra. Meanwhile, fighting between govt forces and rebel groups continued. Notably, local youth 11 June formed self-defence group in Ndiki village (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, centre) and attacked rebel group Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC) elements in area, leaving two youth and two rebels dead. Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) rebels 23 June attacked army positions in Bakouma village (Mbomou prefecture, south east), leaving six rebels and one civilian dead. Govt forces and allied Russian paramilitary Wagner group continued abuses against civilians. Notably, in Ouaka prefecture (east), army and Wagner mercenaries 12 June set fire to mosque in Nguekpa village after CPC rebels took refuge there, killing four men and injuring two women; army 13-14 June killed 20 rebels and wounded 30, including civilians, in attack on CPC positions in Sébagoudé village. CPC elements 23 June attacked army position in Bakouma, Mbomou prefecture, which national forces subsequently repelled with support from UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA). UN humanitarian agency 1 June reported increase in security incidents targeting humanitarian workers, with 69 incidents since Jan 2022; MINUSCA head Valentine Rugwabiza 22 June highlighted CAR’s unstable security situation and condemned “violence against opposition leaders” in address to UN Security Council. Internationally, PM Félix Moloua 14 June travelled to Russia for Saint-Petersburg Economic Forum to strengthen cooperation with Russia, including in mining sector.
Rebel groups accused govt of derailing pre-dialogue talks, high court gave one-year suspended sentence to opposition leaders and herder-farmer violence again flared in east. Rebel groups gathered in Qatar’s capital Doha to reach pre-national dialogue agreement 13 June rejected draft deal govt had proposed 6 June; Qatari mediator same day gave parties two weeks to re-examine draft and propose modifications. Armed groups 18 June accused govt delegation of “disrupting the negotiations through harassment and intimidation”, reaffirmed commitment to reach agreement but reserved right to suspend participation in negotiations. Qatar 29 June presented negotiators with new draft agreement, leaving them three days to amend it. Daoussa Déby Itno, former minister and Transitional Military Council (CMT) President Mahamat Déby Itno’s uncle, 7 June criticised Chad’s mismanagement, said country’s prospects were “very bad”. Catholic organisations at 11 June Chad Episcopal Conference also denounced country’s governance, called for change and emphasised Catholic Church would decide at appropriate time whether to participate in national dialogue. President Déby 23 June dismissed his private secretary, all-powerful General Idriss Youssouf Boy, who was same day arrested on accusations of embezzlement. High Court of N’Djamena 6 June condemned six opposition coalition Wakit Tama leaders arrested on vandalism charges, after mid-May protests in capital N’Djamena turned violent, to 12-month suspended sentence, a collective 10mn CFA francs in damages and 50,000 CFA francs fine each. Defendants two days later appealed decision. Chadian lawyer’s union next day suspended strike protesting leaders’ arrest and detention, called for their release. Transitional authorities 3 June declared food emergency and asked for international support, citing “constant degradation of nutritional situation” due to war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, security situation outside capital remained dire. Following late May clash between gold miners in far north that left over 100 dead, CMT President Déby 3-8 June led mass forced disarmament mission in region. Farmer-herder conflict 7 June erupted in Berem Ham locality (Mayo-Kebbi East region, south) after herder let cattle graze in farmer’s field, leaving 11 dead and at least three injured.
Authorities continued to harass political opposition, while President Ndayishimiye rejected dialogue with RED-Tabara rebel group contradicting earlier statement. Local authorities in Kizuka locality, Rumonge province, 12 June prohibited main opposition party National Congress for Freedom’s (CNL) office inauguration. Locals 14 June found body of CNL youth wing leader Jean-Paul Ntirampeba in Murwi commune, Cibitoke province, accused secret services of detaining and summarily executing him. Ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure 19 June disrupted CNL third-anniversary celebrations in Giharo commune, Rutana province. After two-month face-off with National Assembly President Gélase Daniel Ndabirabe, CNL 22 June obtained authorisation to form parliamentary group. Meanwhile, eight soldiers 2 June drowned in Rusizi river, Citiboke province, en route to join Burundian forces deployed in DR Congo’s South Kivu province to fight RED-Tabara rebels. Ndayishimiye 8 June rejected any form of negotiation with RED-Tabara, one month after expressing interest in dialogue. Fighting between alleged Rwandan soldiers and Burundian rebel group National Liberation Front (FLN) 19-21 June reportedly left ten dead and eight injured in Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province. Amid improving relations between Burundi and EU since lifting of EU financial sanctions in Feb, EU ambassador to Burundi Claude Bochu 10 June said govt must increase financial transparency to receive budget support from EU, suspended in 2016.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Tensions with Kigali continued to fester amid M23 rebel group’s offensive in eastern North Kivu province. In North Kivu province’s Rutshuru territory, M23 rebels 6 June shelled army position, leaving two dead, and around 13 June seized Bunagana town, forcing thousands of civilians to seek refuge in Uganda; clashes between military and M23 also reported 17 June in Jomba area. Fighting week of 20 June spread to neighbouring Nyiragongo territory, closer to provincial capital Goma. President Tshisekedi 5 June said there was “no doubt” that Rwanda supported M23, insisted he was seeking peaceful relations with neighbours. Military 9-10 June accused Rwanda of sending 500 special forces in Rutshuru and firing rockets into North Kivu killing two children. Kigali 10 June also accused DR Congo of firing rockets into Rwanda, next day said Kinshasa had handed over two Rwandan soldiers captured in May. Anti-Rwanda demonstrators 15 June marched from Goma city toward Rwanda and attempted to cross border; looting incidents reported. Congolese soldier 17 June stormed border, fired on Rwandan troops before being killed. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 11-14 June launched attacks in Bambuba-Kisiki groupement, leaving at least 12 civilians dead; 25-26 June killed up to 24 people in and around Mamove locality; 28 June reportedly killed nine villagers in same area. In Ituri province, suspected ADF 5 June killed at least 18 people in raid on Otomabere village, Irumu territory; presumed CODECO rebels 14 June killed eight, kidnapped six others in two attacks in Djugu territory. CODECO 15 June vowed to cease hostilities and adhere to govt’s demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration program, but attacks attributed to CODECO factions continued. After East African Community 20 June agreed to deploy regional security force to eastern DR Congo, demonstrators opposed to deployment 25 June marched in capital Kinshasa. Ahead of 2023 general elections, National Assembly and Senate 3 and 13 June passed new electoral law, and Tshisekedi 15 June swore in three new judges of Constitutional Court. National Assembly same day excluded five MPs for unjustified absences from sessions; former President Kabila’s political bloc Common Front for Congo 16 June denounced move.
Kigali and Kinshasa continued to trade accusations of supporting rebels in Great Lakes region amid M23 armed group offensive in eastern DR Congo. Congolese President Tshisekedi 5 June said there was “no doubt” that Rwanda supported M23 rebellion active in eastern DR Congo, insisted he was still seeking peaceful relations with neighbour. Rwandan and Congolese govts 10 June accused each other of firing rockets across shared border; no casualty reported on Rwandan side. Kigali next day said Kinshasa had released and handed over two Rwandan soldiers captured in May. Rwandan forces 17 June killed one Congolese soldier who had crossed border and allegedly fired at Rwandan security forces. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 1 June called for diplomatic solution to rising Rwanda-DRC tensions (see DR Congo).
Govt extended joint military operation in DR Congo; authorities arrested opposition leader protesting govt’s approach to high commodity prices. Kampala and Kinshasa 1 June extended joint military operation against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in eastern DR Congo by two months. After M23 armed group 13 June captured Congolese town of Bunagana on Ugandan border, several Congolese MPs next day accused Kampala (and Kigali) of supporting M23, which both Uganda and Rwanda deny. Govt 14 June announced raising defence budget by nearly 15% to $1.02bn to strengthen operations in DR Congo. Authorities 16 and 20 June announced discovery of alleged ADF bomb-making material in Luweero town, west of capital Kampala, and arrest of 16 alleged ADF members in Mityana district, both Central Region. Army leadership 23 June reportedly placed military on highest level of combat readiness without providing reason. During trip to north eastern Karamoja region, President Museveni 8-9 June discussed growing opposition to govt’s attempts to disarm cattle keeping groups with local leaders and security forces, proposed series of measures to curb escalatory violence, which has left nearly 400 people dead since July 2021. In state of nation address, Museveni 7 June reiterated govt’s refusal to offer tax breaks or subsidies to address high commodity prices. Authorities 6 June released, and 14 June rearrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who was charged in May with allegedly inciting violence during protests criticising govt’s failure to cushion Ugandans from effects of price hikes. Army 4 June reportedly made incursion into South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state and killed South Sudanese soldier. Amid improving relations with Rwanda, Museveni 23 June arrived in Kigali to attend Commonwealth heads of govt meeting.
UN special rapporteur on Eritrea condemned country’s “dire” human rights record; fighting with Tigray forces along Eritrea-Ethiopia border subsided. In report published 10 June, UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker condemned country’s “dire” human rights situation, citing forced labour, indefinite military conscription, arbitrary arrests, torture and disappearances. At opening of 50th session of UN Human Rights Council, Babiker 13 June shed light on Eritrea’s forcible recruitment for war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, saying thousands including women, children and Eritrean refugees in Ethiopian camps have been rounded up and sent to front lines since late 2020. Around 500 ethnic Afar Eritrean soldiers 2 June reportedly defected from Eritrea and arrived in Ethiopia’s Afar regional state. No fighting reported in June between Eritrean and Tigray forces along shared border.
Violence left hundreds of civilians dead in Oromia; amid ongoing food crisis, Tigray leadership and federal govt announced readiness for peace talks. After almost six months without major confrontation between Tigray and federal forces, Tigray President Debretsion Gebremichael 14 June said his govt was ready for talks; federal govt 28 June announced creation of seven-member committee to hold peace talks, chaired by Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen. UN humanitarian agency 16 June said 1,200 aid trucks had arrived in Tigray since 1 June, almost half of total since 1 April; 27 June however said over 13mn people still in need of food assistance in northern Ethiopia, compared to 9mn in Nov. EU official 21 June said fuel shortages were hampering aid deliveries to Tigray, which federal govt 23 June dismissed as “myth”. Ethnic violence escalated in Oromia region amid ongoing fighting between Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and govt forces, notably in West, East and Kellem Wollega Zones, East and West Guji Zones, and West Arsi Zone. Regional govt and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission accused OLA fighters of 18 June killing hundreds of ethnic Amhara civilians in Gimbi district of West Wollega Zone; OLA denied responsibility and blamed govt. Violence spilled into neighbouring Gambella region, where OLA and Gambella Liberation Front rebels 14 June attacked govt forces in regional capital Gambella; 40 including 28 rebels reportedly killed. In Southern Nations region, mob 4 June stoned nine ethnic Oromos to death in Burji district amid rumour that Guji Oromos had killed ethnic Burji; Koore ethnic militias and govt forces early June reportedly clashed with Derashe ethnic militias in Derashe district, leaving five dead. In Benishangul-Gumuz region, clashes between Gumuz People’s Democratic Movement rebels and regional forces 1 June reportedly killed 19 in Kamashi Zone. Meanwhile, fighting late June erupted between Ethiopian and Sudanese forces in disputed al-Fashaga border zone. Khartoum 26 June accused Ethiopia forces of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian after abducting them in Sudan 22 June, which Addis Ababa denied. Sudan 27-28 June fired heavy artillery into al-Fashaga and claimed control of Jabal Kala al-Laban town.
Amid ongoing political tensions, electoral commission cleared main presidential candidates ahead of August vote, and authorities took new steps to tackle insecurity in several regions. Electoral commission 6 June cleared Deputy President William Ruto, veteran politician Raila Odinga and two other candidates to run for president in election set for 9 August. As recent polls put Odinga slightly ahead in presidential race, Ruto 2 June withdrew from presidential debate planned for July, citing media bias, and 12 June announced he would retire from politics if defeated in election. Political mobilisation again turned violent. Police and youth 19 June clashed during Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) rally in capital Nairobi, leaving at least two injured. Police 23 June fired teargas to break up clashes between rival factions at Odinga’s rally in Marsabit county. Electoral commission 8 June announced it would remove 1.18mn names (out of 22.5mn) from electoral lists after audit found anomalies in voters’ database. Suspected Al-Shabaab militants 1 and 5 June attacked security forces in Garissa county, injuring at least five officers; around 20 June destroyed communications equipment in Mandera county, prompting authorities to beef up security in area. Amid tensions in Marsabit county between rival pastoral communities over resources and land, compounded by prolonged drought, authorities 6 June said security forces have recovered over 200 guns and 3,000 bullets in county since disarmament operation began in May; curfew in Marsabit extended through 30 June. Violence persisted along border between Wajir and Isiolo counties; notably, cattle raiders 18 June reportedly killed four in Merti sub-county, Isiolo. Govt early June imposed 30-day curfew in parts of Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot counties in west in effort to tackle banditry and intercommunal violence. President Kenyatta 9 June attended Somali President Mohamud’s inauguration in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu; counterparts next day reached preliminary agreement to lift Somalia’s ban on khat imports from Kenya.
Newly elected president took steps to mend ties with regional member states and appointed new PM; Al-Shabaab suffered major defeat in Galmudug state; risk of famine persisted. In effort to reset relations between federal govt and member states, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud late May-early June travelled to South West and Galmudug states, whose leaders had been aligned with former President Farmajo. First meeting of National Consultative Council, consisting of president and member state leaders, 11-12 June took place in capital Mogadishu; participants agreed on seven-point agenda for new administration, including finalising constitution, pursuing security reforms, deepening federalism and focusing on reconciliation. Mohamud 15 June appointed experienced politician and MP representing Jubaland state, Hamza Abdi Barre, as PM; parliament 25 June approved Barre’s appointment. Some Farmajo supporters appeared inclined to challenge Mohamud’s tenure. Notably, former intelligence chief Fahad Yasin mid-June released series of interviews taking aim at govt officials, including his replacement, whom he accused of plotting political assassinations. Meanwhile, suspected Al-Shabaab combatants overnight 8-9 June launched nine mortars on airport compound in Mogadishu, which hours later hosted Mohamud’s inauguration ceremony. Galmudug state said armed residents and local security forces 17 June repulsed Al-Shabaab raid on Bahdo town, killing up to 70 militants. Army mid-June started operations against Al-Shabaab in Mataban district of Hiraan region (Hirshabelle state) following militant group’s recent gains in area. U.S. 3 June conducted first drone strike under Mohamud’s presidency near Beer Xaani village in Lower Juba region (Jubaland state), reportedly killing five Al-Shabaab. In departure from previous public statements, senior Al-Shabaab member Mahad Karate told British TV broadcaster Channel 4 in video released 15 June that group could consider negotiations with govt when time is right. Mohamud in interview with The Economist published 2 June said he intends to launch big offensive to contain and push back Al-Shabaab, then engage in talks. UN agencies 6 June said over 200,000 Somalis at risk of starvation and 7.1mn or nearly half the population faced with acute levels of food insecurity as drought worsens and global food prices hover near record highs.
Political tensions over sequencing of elections reached boiling point. Opposition parties Waddani and Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) 9 June staged demonstration in capital Hargeisa to demand presidential election be held as planned on 13 Nov before ten-year licenses of current political parties expire in Dec. Security forces used live ammunition to disperse crown, leaving several protesters injured, including one MP and one senior Waddani official, and at least a dozen arrested. EU and several European countries same day expressed concern, urged all sides to “de-escalate the situation” and engage in dialogue. Waddani and UCID 10 June postponed countrywide anti-govt protests scheduled for next day at request of elders to give mediation a chance. Earlier in month, parliament 6 June approved last three members of Committee for the Registration of Political Association with view to selecting new political parties; MPs late May had exchanged blows during session on the matter. Meanwhile, electoral commission disbanded, with chairman Abdirashid Mohamud Ali Rio-raac stepping down 1 June, followed by three remaining commission members 4 June. Parliament mid-June approved four out of seven proposed new commissioners.
Ruling party launched preparations for elections planned for 2023, sparking tensions in parliament; high levels of cattle-related violence persisted in several states. VP Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) MPs 13 June walked out of Legislative Assembly in protest at alleged procedural irregularities during late May approval of Political Parties Amendment Bill; vote marked key step on road to general elections set for 2023. President Salva Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Government (SPLM) in June also launched party registration drive and reshuffled officials at state and local levels to advance political mobilisation. Notably, Kiir 6-8 June replaced Chief Administrator of Ruweng Administrative Area and two deputy governors in Jonglei and Upper Nile states. Meanwhile, revival of project to dredge Nile waters sparked backlash. Govt 8 June confirmed it signed deal with Egypt in 2021 on dredging of White Nile tributaries by Egyptian companies. Lawyer around 13 June filed lawsuit against govt at East African Court of Justice, arguing project will cause “damages to the environment” and “substantial and irreparable loss” of pastoral and agricultural livelihoods. In Warrap state, govt forces 25-26 June clashed with cattle keepers in Tonj North County; Warrap govt said 18 senior and junior officers killed, while locals put death toll at 43. Local authorities in Warrap’s Twic county 27 June said attacks by armed youth from Abyei Administrative Area previous day left several people killed and hundreds displaced. In Unity state, tension persisted between ethnic Nuer sub-groups as authorities in Mayendit county early June reportedly accused individuals from Leer county of attacking Haak Nuer civilians. In Central Equatoria state, suspected herders 24 June killed nine people in Juba county’s Lokiliri village, prompting state govt to deploy forces in area. Ugandan troops early June briefly deployed into Eastern Equatoria state after accusing South Sudanese gunmen of raiding cattle in Uganda; subsequent gunfire between govt forces and Ugandan forces 4 June left at least one South Sudanese soldier dead in Magwi county. Meanwhile, World Food Programme 14 June announced reduction by almost one third of food aid to country despite soaring needs due to funding shortages and rising costs.
Trilateral mechanism suspended direct talks between military and civilians, intercommunal violence killed over 120 people in West Darfur and military clashed with Ethiopian forces in disputed al-Fashaga area. Trilateral mechanism including UN mission in Sudan, AU and Intergovernmental Authority on Development 8 June facilitated direct talks between ruling military and civilian opposition groups, but main pro-democracy alliance Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Command (FFC-CC) boycotted meeting. U.S. and Saudi diplomats 9 June organised first informal meeting between FFC-CC and military since Oct 2021 coup; FFC-CC next day conditioned formal dialogue on military staying out of politics; amid impasse, trilateral mechanism 11 June indefinitely postponed second round of talks. Near-daily protests against military continued. Notably, thousands 3 June demonstrated across country on anniversary of 2019 crackdown on sit-in in capital Khartoum; mass protests also held 30 June in several cities. Security forces throughout month killed at least ten protesters, bringing death toll since coup to at least 110. In West Darfur state, fighting over land dispute between non-Arab Gimir and Arab Rizeigat communities 6-11 June killed at least 126 mostly Gimir people in Kulbus district, and left around 50,000 displaced; violence spread to North Darfur, with 13 ethnic Gimir villages allegedly attacked 7-10 June. Rizeigat and Misseriya tribes 18 June, and Arab and Massalit tribes 25 June signed reconciliation agreements in state capital El Geneina. In South Kordofan state, clashes between Kenana and Hawazma tribes 5-8 June reportedly killed at least 19 in Abu Jubayhah locality; clashes between Nuba and Baggara tribes 16 June killed five in state capital Kadugli. In Kassala state, intercommunal clashes between Bani Amer and Nuba communities 14-15 June reportedly killed at least five. Meanwhile, fighting erupted in disputed al-Fashaga zone bordering Ethiopia. Military 26 June said Ethiopian army 22 June executed seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian, which Addis Ababa denied. Govt 27 June said it was recalling ambassador from Ethiopia and summoned Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan. Sudanese forces 27-28 June fired heavy artillery into al-Fashaga and claimed control of Jabal Kala al-Laban town.
Forced eviction of ethnic Maasai herders turned violent; in major policy reversal, ruling party endorsed long-held opposition calls for constitutional reform. Police 10 June reportedly used tear gas and live ammunitions against Maasai pastoralists resisting forced eviction in Loliondo division, Ngorongoro district, near major Tanzanian game parks, leaving at least 31 injured and arresting ten; police officer also killed in clashes with protesters. UN Human Rights Council experts 15 June expressed concern over incident, warned govt’s plan to forcibly evict 150,000 Maasai from ancestral lands could lead to escalating violence. Authorities 22 June announced ten-day “special operation” in Ngorongoro against Kenyan Maasai accused of crossing border to support local Maasai community. Authorities 30 June charged 25 Maasai pastoralists with murder of police officer during 10 June protest. Meanwhile, opposition party Chadema’s Sec Gen John Mnyika 9 June urged Chadema members in exile to return, assuring them that President Suluhu Hassan would guarantee their safety. In major policy shift, ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi 22 June said it “insists” on constitutional reform, after years of resisting opposition’s calls for new constitution. Suluhu Hassan 29 June appointed Major Gen Jacob John Mkunda as new chief of defence forces; Mkunda sworn in next day.
Islamist insurgents advanced into Cabo Delgado province’s southern districts, threatening provincial capital Pemba as Islamic State made unprecedented number of claims. Insurgents throughout month moved southward into Cabo Delgado districts which had not seen any major attacks since insurgency started in Oct 2017. In Ancuabe district, insurgents 5 June attacked Nanduli village, with at least four people reported missing; Islamic State (ISIS) next day claimed attack. Insurgents continued to move south: two people beheaded 8 June on graphite mining site 60km from provincial capital Pemba, another civilian killed next day in Ntutupue village; up to seven people including two security officers killed 18-19 June in Nikuita and Macaia villages; and four more in Mihecani village 23-26 June. ISIS 13 June claimed Ntutupue attack. Violence in Ancuabe 5-19 June triggered displacement of over 20,000 people. Insurgency advanced further south into Chiure district, previously considered safe haven for refugees. Notably, ISIS 12-13 June claimed killing four civilians and burning down houses in Retene and Micolene villages. Attack also reported in Mecufi district’s Mancuaia village 14 June. Insurgents’ incursions into Cabo Delgado’s south sparked security concerns in Pemba, which serves as logistical hub for Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). Security forces 12 June introduced checkpoints and military escorts along Metuge-Pemba road; local sources 13 June reported traffic restrictions across Chiure and Ancuabe districts; President Nyusi 16 June met with senior military, SAMIM and Rwandan officials to discuss further military operations. Neighbouring Nampula province, south of Cabo Delgado, experienced its first attack as combatants 17 June beheaded civilian in Lúrio village, Memba district. Insurgents continued to engage with security forces and target civilians in northern and central Cabo Delgado. Notably, in Macomia district, ISIS 7 June claimed raid on Chai village, reportedly kidnapping several children; clashes between insurgents and security forces reported around 9 June outside Quinto Congresso village and between Nkoe and Chai villages, with unknown number killed; attacks in Nkoe 21 and 23 June reportedly left four dead. Insurgents 25 June killed at least one civilian in ambush in Mocímboa da Praia district, and 28 June attacked Mandimba military outpost in Nangade district.
Deadly attacks against opposition activists stoked tensions ahead of potentially divisive elections set for 2023. Main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) 8 June said party member Langelihle Zonda Dube had died following same-day attack by armed gang at his home in Bulawayo city. Body of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali, who had been missing since 24 May, found 11 June on outskirts of capital Harare; CCC supporters in following days denounced political killing, which police denied. Violence between CCC and ruling ZANU-PF party supporters 12-13 June disrupted Moreblessing Ali’s funeral in Nyatsime area outside Harare; authorities 14 June arrested CCC lawmakers Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole on charges of inciting violence. Armed individuals 14 June allegedly killed CCC member Edison Chinembiri in Chitungwiza town. CCC 18 June said suspected ZANU-PF activists previous day attacked CCC VP Tendai Biti, and several other party members in Mashonaland Central province, denounced “assassination attempt”. Meanwhile, Bulawayo Court 14 June gave freelance reporter for The New York Times Jeffrey Moyo two-year suspended prison sentence on charges of breaching country’s immigration laws in 2021; Moyo immediately vowed to appeal verdict. Teachers’ union President Obert Masaraure, who has led multiple strikes in recent months, arrested 14 June over alleged involvement in 2o16 murder; High Court 29 June granted him bail.
Suspected jihadists launched attack on northern region police station, leaving several dead. In north-western Atakora department near Burkina Faso border, suspected jihadists 26 June attacked police station in Dassari town, killing two officers and seriously injuring another; two assailants also killed.
National Assembly approved new speaker in landslide vote, marking new step in political reconciliation process. Following death of National Assembly Speaker Amadou Soumahoro in May, MPs 7 June elected Adama Bictogo, executive secretary of ruling party Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) and first VP of National Assembly, as new speaker. Bictogo gathered 237 of 255 votes, rallying political opposition forces along with RHDP around his candidacy; in return, Bictogo vowed to take opposition parties’ demands, including reform of electoral commission and redrawing of electoral map ahead of 2023 local elections, to President Ouattara. After spending three months in his home region, former President Henri Konan Bédié 17 June returned to economic capital Abidjan amid generational struggle within his Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, as youth wing demands Bédié’s departure. After former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé, who lives in exile in Netherlands, recovered his passport in May, govt spokesperson Amadou Coulibaly 1 June said it was “up to Charles Blé Goudé to decide whether or not he will return”; Blé Goudé remains under 20-year prison sentence in Côte d’Ivoire for involvement in crimes committed during 2010-2011 post-election crisis.
Security forces brutally suppressed protest, leaving one dead, and junta initiated talks with political opposition and civil society; West Africa regional bloc postponed decision on sanctions until July. In capital Conakry, demonstration against fuel price increases held 1 June despite protest ban imposed in May; security forces cracked down on protesters, leaving one young man dead, 7 June announced arrest of five police officers in connection with killing. Civil society organisation National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 23 June cancelled march against interim President Col Doumbouya’s three-year transition plan scheduled for same day, gave govt until 30 June to initiate dialogue, prompting PM Mohamed Béavogui to convene talks 27 June; FNDC and political coalition built around political party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) participated, but former presidential party Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) boycotted event to protest ongoing detention of party leaders. Meanwhile, gendarmes 7 June detained special forces officer who was key to Sept 2021 coup, Commander Aly Camara, on unknown charges for second time since coup. Amid concerns that deposed President Condé, who junta allowed in May to seek medical treatment in Türkiye, may try to evade judges investigating crimes committed under his presidency, Sec Gen of Presidency Col Amara Camara 8 June said “Condé will come back home”. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 4 June reiterated request for “acceptable transition timetable”, without giving more details, and urged govt to initiate dialogue with political and civil society stakeholders to “ease socio-political tensions”; FM Morissanda Kouyaté 24 June visited Côte d’Ivoire as part of regional tour to lobby against potential commercial sanctions that ECOWAS could approve during next meeting set for 3 July.
Armed groups continued attacks on farming communities, kidnap for ransom and cattle rustling in North West states; security situation remained dire in North East and South East. In Kaduna state, gunmen 5 June raided several villages in Kajuru area, killing at least 32 residents; 19 June killed eight people and kidnapped 38 others in raids on two churches in same area. In Zamfara state, gunmen 6-7 June abducted former state electoral commissioner, Sanusi Wanzamai Sanusi, and killed at least five villagers in attacks in Tsafe area; 11 June abducted about 50 people after ambushing them along Sokoto-Gusau highway. In Kebbi state, about 200 armed men around 14 June reportedly attacked a dozen villages in Danko-Wasagu area, killing at least five and rustling at least 2,000 cows. Gunmen around 22 June abducted 22 people within Federal Capital Territory. In Borno state in North East, security forces continued battling Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram (BH). Notably, army 7 June said it had killed over a dozen BH fighters in Konduga area. Both groups however continued attacks on military and civilians. Notably, ISWAP claimed killing four soldiers in 7 June attack on military barracks in Banki town (Bama area) near Cameroonian border; suspected ISWAP combatants 8 June reportedly killed at least 23 civilians in Dikwa area; BH or ISWAP 16 June fired mortar bombs into internally displaced persons camp in Bama area, killing at least 11. ISWAP also continued spreading its operations beyond North East. Notably, group 4 June claimed 2 June bomb attack that killed one in Okene area of Kogi state (North Central). Meanwhile in South West, 5 June attack on Catholic church in Owo town, Ondo state, killed at least 40 people; federal govt blamed ISWAP, which state govt disputed. Separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra’s armed wing, Eastern Security Network (ESN), continued almost daily attacks on govt forces in South East despite latter’s efforts to subdue them: in Enugu state, gunmen 2 June killed two policemen in Igbo Eze North area; in Anambra state, joint security operation around 25 June destroyed ESN camps in Nnewi South area.
Suspected jihadists clashed with military in northern region. Following deadly jihadist attack in May, govt 13 June declared three-month state of emergency in northern Savanes region bordering Burkina Faso. Suspected jihadists overnight 15-16 June clashed with military in Goulingoushi area (also Savanes); no casualties reported among soldiers.
Japanese military monitored increased operations by Chinese and Russian vessels around Japanese territorial waters, while Tokyo condemned Beijing’s construction activities in East China Sea. Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force 3 June sighted Chinese naval group sailing south east in area some 75 miles north west of Japan’s Amami Oshima Island. China’s largest destroyer Type 055 Lhasa 15 June held first long-range sea drills in Japan Sea since being commissioned in March 2021. As of 26 June, 102 Chinese vessels had entered Japan’s contiguous zone, including 14 identified in Japan’s territorial sea. Seven Russian warships 13-17 June passed near Izu Islands, south of Japanese capital Tokyo, in first such Russian presence since Oct 2021. Japanese defence ministry 17 June said it is on alert over increasing Russian and Chinese military activity near its territory. Japan 20 June confirmed China’s completion of new platform — its 17th —linked to gas field development in East China Sea, after earlier in month protesting Beijing’s moves to build 18th structure; Japan and China suspended negotiations on joint gas development in area in 2010. China and Japan foreign ministries 23 June held talks related to East China Sea. At annual Shangri-La Dialogue international summit held in Singapore, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida 10 June delivered keynote address outlining “Kishida vision of Peace” where Japan would boost regional defence and security role and commit to “realism diplomacy”, said Japan was standing firm against “unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force” in East China Sea; Kishida also described Taiwan Strait stability as “of extreme importance” (see Taiwan).
North Korea (DPRK) tested ballistic missiles as U.S. again warned of potentially imminent DPRK nuclear test; Washington and Seoul signalled resolve with their own missile launches and drills. North Korea 5 June fired eight short-range ballistic missiles off east coast in largest-scale single test event to date. In response, South Korea and U.S. next day fired eight surface-to-surface missiles off east coast to demonstrate “capability and readiness to carry out precision strikes”; U.S. and South Korea 8 June conducted joint military drill involving 20 aircraft. U.S. continued warnings it ramped up in May of Pyongyang’s seventh nuclear test; U.S. Special Representative Sung Kim 6 June cautioned test could be “at any time”. International Atomic Energy Agency next day reported North Korean construction work expanding key facilities at main nuclear site in Yongbyon. U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies 16 June said North Korea appeared to be expanding work at Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility ready for possible nuclear test. South Korea 21 June successfully launched first domestically-designed rocket Nuri-ho II following failed launch in Oct 2021; rocket ostensibly intended to facilitate low-cost commercial satellite launches but is perceived by North Korea as overt military threat. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un 22 June convened meeting of senior military officials to discuss national defence policies where he reiterated commitment to continuing arms build-up. During tripartite meeting, South Korean Vice FM Cho Hyun-dong, U.S. Deputy Sec State Wendy Sherman and Japanese Vice FM Takeo Mori 8 June called on North Korea to cease actions that “escalate tensions” following “serious, unlawful” missile tests in May, stressing that “a path to serious and sustained dialogue remains open”. Chinese UN envoy Zhang Jun 9 June said “denuclearisation is one of the key goals of China” and warned not to “prejudge” Chinese response in event of seventh nuclear test; statement follows China’s 26 May veto alongside Russia of U.S.-led UN Security Council resolution authorising additional sanctions against North Korea. South Korean President Yoon 17 June called for coordinated UN Security Council response to Pyongyang’s provocations.
China conducted third-largest aerial incursion into Taiwan’s air defence zone this year and vowed to fight at all costs if Taiwan pursued independence. Chinese incursions into Taiwanese airspace continued through month, totalling 81 planes as of 27 June. Notably, 29 aircraft 21 June entered air defence identification zone in third largest sortie this year; Taiwan same day scrambled jets to warn off Chinese aircraft. U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft 24 June flew over Taiwan Strait. Earlier, China’s Eastern Theatre Command 1 June conducted “joint combat-readiness patrol” around Taiwan, following large-scale exercise around island one week prior. U.S. 9 June approved $120mn arms deal to Taiwan in fourth such sale under U.S. Biden administration; China same day strongly condemned deal as violation of past U.S.-China agreements. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin 10-12 June affirmed Biden administration’s unchanged Taiwan policy at Shangri-La Dialogue international summit held in Singapore and accused China of growing coercion; Austin also committed to strengthening “guardrails against conflict” by maintaining communication with Beijing. During meeting with Austin on sidelines of summit, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Feng reportedly said China would not hesitate to commence war if Taiwan pursued independence; Wei also publicly warned Chinese military will fight at all costs against Taiwan’s pursuit of independence. Chinese foreign ministry 13 June said “China enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait” and “there is no such thing as ‘international waters’ in [UN Convention on the Law of the Sea]”; U.S. same day affirmed Taiwan Strait is “international waterway”, while Taiwan next day rebuffed Beijing’s statement as “false claim”. Leader of Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party Eric Chu during visit to U.S. 6 June said that “1992 consensus” remains key to KMT engagement with Beijing, but both sides are free to interpret what “one China” means.
Intra-Taliban debate over social policies continued, World Bank announced new economic projects, and fighting between Taliban and opposition groups persisted. Video 6 June surfaced showing Kabul governor stating current situation regarding women is not acceptable and urged ministry for promotion of virtue and prevention of vice to implement decrees in capital. Deputy FM Abbas Stanikzai 19 June criticised govt’s decision not to reopen girls’ secondary schools. Meanwhile, World Bank 3 June approved three projects totaling $793mn to support essential food, livelihood and health services for Afghans. Taliban govt continued measures in attempt to resuscitate economy, including launching “Afghan Invest” enterprise mid-month and hosting trade show for female entrepreneurs in Kabul 9 June. Media reports early month indicated country’s exports to Pakistan have increased during financial year, from $550mn last year to more than $700mn. Groups opposing Taliban rule continued attacks. Fighting between National Resistance Front (NRF) fighters and Taliban security personnel persisted in Andarab district in Baghlan province (north) and Panjshir province (north). Notably, NRF fighters 17 June downed helicopter operated by Taliban and captured four prisoners in Panjshir. NGO Human Rights Watch 10 June accused Taliban security forces of war crimes in Panjshir, claims which UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett tentatively endorsed same day; NGO Amnesty International 16 June accused Taliban of “torture, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrest of civilians” in Panjshir. Standoff persisted between Maulawi Mehdi, Shia Hazara Taliban commander, and Taliban security personnel in Balkhab District in Sar-e Pol province (north), raising prospect of first instance of significant intra-Taliban clashes; central authorities removed Mehdi as local intelligence chief in Nov 2021. Taliban forces 28 June launched attack on Balkhab district, capturing district capital following day; residual fighting likely in coming days. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) 18 June claimed attack on Sikh temple in Kabul, killing at least two people and injuring seven; group said attack was retaliation for derogatory comments made by India’s ruling party (see India).
Protests in multiple districts erupted over senior Indian officials’ anti-Islamic remarks, while govt continued crackdown on critics. Protests erupted after members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 6 June made anti-Islam remarks (see India). In Dhaka capital, thousands of protesters led by coalition of around dozen Islamist organisations 10 June demanded govt boycott Indian products and issue formal condemnation; protests organised by Islami Andolan Bangladesh, one of country’s largest Islamist parties, 16 June continued in Dhaka. In Bagerhat district, Muslim mob 12 June attacked Hindu house following altercation between Hindu man and local Muslims over BJP remarks. In Naranganj district, protesters 13 June attacked police station, prompting authorities to arrest 31 for assaulting police officers. Separately, opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) 12 June held protest rallies demanding BNP leader Khaleda Zia be granted medical treatment abroad after suffering heart attack day before; home minister 11 June called Zia “convict” and said court approval needed for overseas treatment. Court in Satkhira district 16 June indicted 49 BNP members for August 2002 attack on then-opposition leader Sheikh Hasina’s convoy. Authorities continued clampdown on dissent. Govt 7 June deregistered country’s leading human rights group, Odhikar, claiming it published “misleading information” and tarnished country’s global image; UN Human Rights Council 10 June urged govt to “immediately reconsider” decision, noting “intimidation and reprisals appear to have intensified”. Police in Rangamati district 7 June arrested prominent journalist Fazel Elahi for violating controversial Digital Security Act; following protests, he was released on bail next day. In Cox’s Bazar Ukhiya refugee camp, armed police 10 and 13 June arrested four persons, including Rohingya cleric, for murder of leader of Rohingya boatmen on 9 June. Police same day pressed charges against 29 Rohingyas for killing of Rohingya community activist Mobin Ullah in Sept 2021. Clashes between groups in Ukhiya camp 16 June killed one member of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. In talks with Myanmar authorities, FM Masud Bin Momen 14 June called for early repatriation of Rohingyas; he said list of 830,000 individuals containing biometric data had been handed to Myanmar.
Anti-Islam remarks by ruling party officials sparked widespread unrest and international condemnation, while govt’s new military recruitment scheme triggered backlash across country. After ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Dehli-based party leader Naveen Kumar Jindal made derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad late May, large-scale protests erupted across country. Notably, massive protests 3 June broke out in capital New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (north), West Bengal (east), Telangana (south), Jharkland (east) and Jammu and Kashmir (north) states; police shot dead at least two protesters in Ranchi, Jharkland, while police in Uttar Pradesh arrested 421 people and demolished houses of alleged protest organisers. United Arab Emirates, Oman, Indonesia, Iraq, Maldives, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran and Qatar all lodged protests over comments; BJP 5 June suspended spokesperson and expelled regional leader. Video 28 June posted online showed two Muslims claiming responsibility for murder of Hindu in Rajasthan state (north west) in retaliation for remarks, triggering further protests in various parts of country. In another episode of unrest, govt 14 June announced new scheme of recruiting soldiers on short-term contracts in bid to slash salary and pension payments that consume half of defence budget, triggering demonstrations in Bihar (north east), Haryana (north), Madhya Pradesh (centre), Uttar Pradesh (north), Uttarakhand (north), Rajasthan (north), Telangana (south), West Bengal (east), Odisha (east), Punjab (north) and Kerala (south); protesters clashed with police, injuring many, and burnt govt property, public transport vehicles, trains and railway stations in most of aforementioned states. In Telangana, police 17 June fired shots at mob ransacking railway station, leaving one dead and several injured. Overall, police arrested over 1,000 people, including 800 in Bihar alone. Maoist violence continued. Notably, Maoists 19 June killed villager in Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh state (centre) on suspicion of being police informer. Security forces next day killed three Maoists during security operation in Balaghat district, Madhya Pradesh. Relations with China remained tense. FM S. Jaishankar 18 June blamed China for border crisis, stating: “We will not allow any unilateral attempt by China to change the status quo or alter the [Line of Actual Control]”.
Tensions remained high in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where militants launched targeted attacks, notably on Hindu minority community, and clashed with security forces. J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha 6 June claimed that militancy in Kashmir was in its last stage, blaming recent increase of targeted killings on Pakistan. During two-day visit to J&K, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 16 June said “Pakistan continuously tries to disturb peace in the country” by “bleeding India with a thousand cuts”. China 18 June blocked proposal by U.S. and India to list militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s deputy chief under UN Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) Al-Qaida and Sanctions Committee. In J&K, Hindus continued to be at high risk of violent attacks. Notably, militants 2 June killed Hindu employee at bank in Kulgam district, while killing three other Hindus that week; govt 3 June rejected demand of Kashmiri Pandit employees to be relocated outside Kashmir Valley until region is stable but allowed for postings to relatively safer districts under same division. Meanwhile, militant attacks and security operations continued in J&K. Notably, militants 1 June shot civilian in Shopian district; 2 June killed one security personnel in bomb blast in Shopian district and killed one migrant labourer in Budgam district; 18 June killed off-duty senior Kashmiri police in Pulwama district. Security forces 4 June killed alleged Hizbul Mujahideen commander in Anantnag district; 6-7 June killed three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants in Baramulla and Kupwara districts; in Shopian, 7 June arrested four militants allegedly responsible for bomb blast and killed suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militant; 11 June killed four alleged militants in Kulgam and Pulawama districts; 12-13 June killed three LeT militants in Srinagar regional capital; 14-27 June killed 15 alleged militants in Kulgam, Anatnag, Kupwara, Pulwama and Sopore districts, including two alleged Pakistanis who security forces claimed were sent to attack annual Hindu pilgrimage. Outraged by anti-Muslim remarks made by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) officials (see India), Kashmiri Muslims 10 June protested across Kashmir valley. Govt 14 June announced more than 300 educational institutions run by Falah-e-Aam Trust, affiliate of banned Jamaat-e-Islami, had been shut down.
Manoeuvring within ruling coalition accelerated ahead of general elections expected in winter 2022; protesters rallied in capital Kathmandu against fuel price hikes amid growing economic strains. Buoyed by strong showing in local elections in May, ruling coalition member Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 1 June threatened to reconsider alliance with Nepali Congress; observers saw Dahal’s remarks as aiming to secure power-sharing arrangement, including potential sharing of prime minister post with current PM and Nepali Congress chair Sher Bahadur Deuba in next govt. Dahal piled pressure on PM Deuba to not immediately approve reshuffling of ministerial portfolios that had been designated to Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) after party 5 June recalled its four cabinet representatives; new ministers were eventually sworn in 26 June following weeks of discord that roiled Unified Socialist party. Meanwhile, signs of discontent over economic situation emerged. Protesters 21-23 June took to streets in Kathmandu – including outside federal parliament – against fuel price hikes as some threw stones and damaged police vehicle, prompting govt to announce decrease in prices 25 June; devaluing Nepali rupee contributed to foreign debt liability rising by over $155mn in third quarter of current fiscal year. Central bank 27 June announced it only had enough foreign exchange reserves to sustain imports for little over six months.
Political tensions continued as former PM Khan threatened protests and warned of country’s split if no election held, while Pakistani Taliban and military continued to clash despite “indefinite ceasefire”. Political polarisation remained at all-time high. Khan 1 June asked why military had not defended country against “foreign conspiracy” that allegedly ousted his govt and warned that without “right decisions”, army would be destroyed and Pakistan could split “into three parts” and face “civil war”; Khan same day insisted rally demanding snap elections would be held despite abrupt cancellation in May. In response, Major General Babar Iftikhar 14 June stated National Security Council had been “informed categorically in detail by [intelligence] agencies that there was no evidence of any conspiracy”. Amid declining currency value and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, govt ended fuel subsidies, leading to 29% price growth on 15 June. Govt talks with International Monetary Fund progressed toward unlocking $6bn bailout; govt 24 June received $2.3bn Chinese loan. Khan 25 June called for protests on 2 July against rising inflation and legislation clipping anti-corruption body’s powers. Threat of political violence remained high, particularly in Punjab province and Karachi city, Sindh province, ahead of 17 July by-elections; vote in 20 Punjab constituencies will determine whether Chief Minister Hamza Sharif retains post. Separate by-election in Karachi 16 June saw clashes between supporters of Barevli hardline Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) and Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP), killing one and injuring ten. Violence 26 June killed two during first phase of polls in Sindh province. Meanwhile, Pakistani Taliban 2 June formally announced “indefinite ceasefire” with govt; information minister 3 June welcomed ceasefire, but Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), key partner in govt, 12 June expressed concern over exclusion of parliament and political parties in talks. Indicating lack of support among some Taliban factions, separate attacks in North Waziristan 2, 3, 12 and 18 June killed three soldiers; exchange of fire 26 June killed two soldiers and seven militants. Govt grew closer to exiting global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s grey list as watchdog 17 June announced govt’s compliance with all action plan items.
Amid risk of “full-blown humanitarian crisis”, tensions mounted as authorities sought to address widespread hunger and shortages and Supreme Court dashed opposition’s hopes for root-and-branch political reform. Economic prospects worsened during month as lack of hard currency to purchase fuel increasingly strained productivity across country, raising risk of economic depression on top of skyrocketing inflation. UN 9 June launched global appeal to raise $47.2mn in assistance by Sept 2022; UN’s humanitarian office next day warned economic crisis is deteriorating rapidly and is at risk of tipping into a “full-blown humanitarian crisis”, while UN Resident Coordinator in capital Colombo same day said estimated 4.9mn people, or 22% of population, were currently in need of food assistance. Govt closed schools and ordered workers to stay at home for two weeks beginning 20 June, while queues for cooking gas and petrol extended miles in many places, leading to violent incidents at gas stations. Notably, army 18 June fired live ammunition over heads of Tamils waiting in line in northern town of Vishvamadu. Sri Lanka Bar Association 18 June called on police to “act with restraint and caution in dealing with the public”. Police made series of arrests of protest leaders and social media activists throughout month. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe 7 June urged citizens to be patient and not hoard fuel or essentials; said govt would request $6bn in support from International Monetary Fund (IMF), including $5bn for daily needs in next six months, along with another billion to stabilise rapidly depreciating rupee. IMF representatives 20 June visited Colombo in effort to complete staff level agreement on economic reforms and bailout. On political front, hopes for passage of opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB)’s proposal for 21st Amendment to constitution to abolish executive presidency were dashed after speaker 21 June announced amendment would require both two-thirds parliamentary majority and approval through referendum. Cabinet 20 June approved separate amendment proposed by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, which would reportedly limit president’s power only modestly. SJB and opposition National People’s Power (NPP) 21 June announced boycott of parliament in protest at govt’s failure to address crises.
Regime announced plans for first judicial executions in decades, fighting continued in Sagaing region amid reports of serious abuses at hands of Tatmadaw, and tensions ran high in Chin State. Tatmadaw 3 June confirmed regime would execute four people, including National League for Democracy legislator Phyo Zeyar Thaw and 88 Generation leader Kyaw Min Yu, for their involvement in armed resistance movement in Yangon city, in what would be first judicial execution since 1988. Decision sparked domestic and international outcry: Cambodia 10 June warned executions would undermine South East Asia regional bloc ASEAN and Cambodian efforts to end crisis; regime 6 June rejected criticism from France, UN and U.S. In Sagaing region (centre), regime forces appeared to carry out serious abuses targeting civilians amid ongoing fighting with local people’s defence forces (PDFs). Notably, PDF in Kani township 4 June found four bodies allegedly killed by military 31 May and next day found two bodies apparently tortured before being shot; charred remains of 78-year-old woman found 4 June in Khin-U township after military torched 70 homes. Soldiers 6 June reportedly massacred civilians in Kanphyar village, Myinmu township, killing at least five. Resistance force in Gangaw township 4 June attacked 100-vehicle military convoy, claiming at least ten military casualties and sparking retributive attacks. In Chin State (west), tensions between military and Arakan Army (AA) remained high following late May clashes, with both sides detaining each other’s personnel. Regime soldiers 1 June allegedly fired mortars at displacement camps near neighbouring Kyauktaw township. AA 11 June detained two soldiers in Kyauktaw township, triggering search by military. In central Shan State (east), Shan State Progress Party 4 June rejected military’s ultimatum to withdraw from three outposts in Mong Hsu township. As part of peace initiative, regime early June met two major ethnic armed groups linked to China, United Wa State Army and National Democratic Alliance Army; regime also met signatories of 2015 ceasefire – Arakan Liberation Party, Pao National Liberation Organisation, Karen Peace Council and Democratic Karen Benevolent Army later in month. Defence Minister Mya Tun Oo 22 June attended ASEAN defence ministers’ meeting despite calls from many civil society groups to exclude regime.
Insecurity persisted in south amid election-related violence and security operations against Islamist armed groups, while clashes with communist rebels continued at lower lethality. Tensions and violence linked to polls on 9 May continued during month in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, largely concentrated in Datu Odin Sinsuat town and municipality, Maguindanao province; notably, unknown shooters 6 June killed two civilians in Taviran village. Also in Maguindanao, unknown assailants same day killed two and injured four in Kalanganan village, Cotabato city. Two partisan armed groups linked to politicians from warring clans in Datu Odin Sinsuat town same day clashed in Benolen district. Unidentified gunmen 17 June ambushed govt militia fighters in Makir village, killing one and injuring three militia fighters. In General Salipada K. Pendatun town, armed groups associated with rival local politicians, including Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) elements, clashed 12 June; local govt, MILF and military intervened and temporarily stemmed violence. In Marawi province, Mayor Majul Gandamra 7 June said Marawi city officials are identifying key tourism and investment options as post-siege reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts near completion. Military combatted Islamist armed groups in south. Notably, military 1 June killed suspected Dawlah Islamiyah Maguindanao Group bomber and arrested his companion in M’lang town, Cotabato province; 7 June reported killing previous day alleged Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – East Asia spokesperson in operation in Maguindanao province. Two wanted Abu Sayyaf suspects accused of beheading foreign nationals in 2015-2016 17 June surrendered to military in Sulu province. Military and police same day killed Norodin Guimad, leader of unnamed “armed lawless group”, and follower in Matanog town, Maguindanao. Meanwhile, clashes between armed forces and communist New People’s Army continued at lower levels compared to May; violence in Mindanao Island in south, Visayas Islands in centre and Luzon Island in north claimed at least four fatalities and six injuries among combatants and civilians. U.S. Deputy Sec State Wendy Sherman 9 June met President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in capital Manila, and pledged to deepen economic ties and preserve “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
South China Sea
Australia accused Chinese aircraft of dangerous interception in South China Sea (SCS), while U.S. and China traded barbs during international Shangri-La summit. Australia 5 June reported Chinese J-16 fighter conducted “dangerous manoeuvre” close to Australian P8 military surveillance plane flying near Paracel Islands in SCS; China 7 June said Australian aircraft “seriously threatened China’s sovereignty and security” and Chinese countermeasures were “professional, safe, reasonable and legitimate”. Chinese Eastern Theatre Command 6 June announced beach landing exercises conducted by three landing ships in SCS waters. Philippines 11 June protested Chinese actions in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, including illegal fishing, shadowing Filippino vessels on rotation and resupply mission, and blocking shoal entrance with buoys and fishnets. Outgoing Philippines FM 23 Jun said talks over joint energy exploration with China in SCS were terminated. Philippines 28 June protested Taiwan’s live-fire drills near Itu Aba in Spratly Islands. SCS emerged as central topic during international summit Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore 10-12 June. Notably, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin 11 June called out China for building “outposts on man-made islands bristling with advanced weaponry to advance its illegal maritime claims”; Chinese Defence Minister Wei Feng He 12 June called for SCS to be “sea of peace, friendship and cooperation” while condemning “some big power” who practised “navigation hegemony”; Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen same day compared SCS situation to currently blockaded Black Sea, while Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein cautioned tensions could degenerate into deadly conflict.
Pro-democracy demonstrators demanded PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s resignation as opposition tabled no-confidence vote, while militant attacks resumed in deep south. Some 200 pro-democracy protesters in capital Bangkok 11 June marched from Democracy Monument to Victory Monument, demanding PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s resignation. Following march, several dozen protesters pressed on to Din Daeng district toward Prayuth’s residence at 1st Infantry Regiment base; police confronted protesters who threw bottles, fireworks and set fire to police vehicle near Din Daeng intersection. Pro-democracy protesters 19 June held march on same route, calling for release of people jailed under lèse-majesté law and for law to be revoked; few dozen youths clashed with police at Din Daeng intersection, with no injuries reported but one person hospitalised following seizure, while police arrested two protesters aged 17 and 18. Meanwhile, opposition parties 15 June filed no-confidence vote against PM and ten cabinet ministers; censure debate expected mid-July; vote comes in wake of 22 May Bangkok governor election in which Chadchart Sittipunt — independent candidate and former member of Pheu Thai Party — won landslide victory; result widely interpreted as signal of declining electoral prospects for ruling Phalang Pracharat Party. In deep south, after Ramadan Peace Initiative expired mid-May, unknown attackers 1 June killed Malay-Muslim man in orchard in Bannang Sata district, Yala province; authorities did not draw direct link to insurgency. IED hidden in garbage truck 20 June exploded near police checkpoint in Panare district, Pattani province, wounding three police officers; assailant same night tossed hand grenade at sub-district security operations base in Raman district, Yala. Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) leader Kasturi Makhota 20 June said PULO likely to join peace dialogue process between main separatist group Barisan Revolusi Nasional and govt.
Europe & Central Asia
Bosnia And Herzegovina
German govt promised military reinforcements for EU mission to support country’s stability, while tensions over bid for EU candidacy status flared. In first troop contribution in ten years to Operation Althea (EU-led military mission overseeing 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement), German govt 15 June approved deployment of up to 50 soldiers to join operation amid concerns over country’s stability; deployment, which awaits parliamentary approval, would last until 30 June 2023. Following European Commission’s decision 17 June to back Ukraine and Moldova for EU candidate status, Slovenia 20 June said it would seek same offer for Bosnia during EU leaders summit 23-24 June in Belgian capital Brussels to “reaffirm the EU’s commitment to the Western Balkans”; statement followed comments made by Croatian President Milanović during Prespa Dialogue Forum in North Macedonia 16-18 June that “constant postponement is destroying that country”. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik 22 June threatened to pull out of agreement made 12 June between top Bosnian politicians to work together toward EU membership if country did not receive candidate status. EU leaders, however, did not grant candidate status and said country must first implement commitments set out in agreement and finalise constitutional and electoral reform; Dodik 24 June accused some EU leaders of seeing “Bosnia and Herzegovina as a colony”.
Authorities struck long-awaited energy deal with Serbia to support Serb municipalities, but restricted entry for Serbs entering country, sparking Belgrade’s condemnation. Following Nov 2021 announcement that Kosovo would cut energy supply to Serbian municipalities, Kosovo and Serbia 21 June signed agreement in EU-facilitated dialogue to implement previous energy deal signed in 2013; deal paves way for Belgrade-backed company to supply energy to Serbian municipalities, which have not paid for electricity since end of Kosovo-Serbia war in 1999. EU Special Representative Lajčák same day called deal “major step forward”. Govt 29 June announced that citizens with Serbian ID cards entering country would be given temporary Kosovo-issued documents; stipulated that cars with Serbian licence plates must re-register with Republic of Kosovo plates by 30 September. Belgrade accused Pristina of seeking to “expel Serbs” from territory and of launching “general attack on northern Kosovo”. During visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to capital Pristina, PM Kurti 10 June announced plan to submit EU membership application by end of 2022; Scholz reiterated that Kosovo and Serbia could only become EU members if they found “political solution” to dispute over Kosovo’s independence “with a comprehensive, sustainable agreement that also contributes to regional stability”. European Council President Charles Michel 15 June visited Pristina, calling for “rapid progress in implementing past agreements” within EU-led Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, which “is essential for advancing on the EU path”. At EU Western Balkan’s summit, President Osmani 24 June claimed she had received “strongest [support] so far” from EU leaders on Kosovo’s EU perspective and visa liberalisation.
Transport corridor remained central sticking point between Yerevan and Baku, while opposition continued protest over PM Pashinyan’s perceived readiness to soften stance on status of Nagorno-Karabakh (NK). Russia 3 June mediated talks on transport corridor between Deputy PM Mher Grigoryan and Azerbaijani counterpart Shahin Mustafayev in Russian capital Moscow, where pair agreed to continue efforts to unblock transport links. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov 9 June visited Armenia’s capital Yerevan, said that “simplified” border crossing procedures would be used on railway and motorway connecting mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia. While providing few details, Lavrov did not exclude possibility of route being under Armenia’s jurisdiction. Pashinyan 14 June told media outlet Al Jazeera that “narrative about the so-called corridor [between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan exclave] is unacceptable”, referencing 2020 agreement that mentioned only Lachin corridor, which connects NK to Armenia via Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani President Aliyev 23 June again accused Armenia of failing to provide transport link connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan exclave, as per 2020 agreement. Disagreements over status of NK persisted, hindering peace talks (see Nagorno-Karabakh). Speaking to local media, Pashinyan 27 June accused Azerbaijan of undermining diplomatic efforts in order “to legitimise a new war”. Meanwhile, defence ministry 20 June said one soldier was killed 18-19 June on border with Azerbaijan. Since mid-April, Armenia has reported two soldiers killed at military positions between Azerbaijan’s Kelbajar district and Armenia’s Gegharkunik region, which have seen particularly deadly skirmishes since 2020. Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelyan 14 June announced switch from daily anti-govt demonstrations, which opposition had been staging since late April, to weekly rallies, saying it will bring “new impetus” to “our resistance movement”; added that opposition’s main aim was still to ouster Pashinyan and prevent new “capitulation agreement” with Azerbaijan, referring to possible treaty on status of NK (see Nagorno-Karabakh). Pashinyan 15 June told parliament that “any status” guaranteeing security, rights and freedoms of NK people should be considered “real solution” and claimed alternative would be “annihilation not only of Nagorno-Karabakh, but of Armenia as well”.
Transport corridor remained central sticking point between Baku and Yerevan. Russia 3 June mediated talks on transport corridor between Deputy PM Shahin Mustafayev and Armenian counterpart Mher Grigoryan in Russian capital Moscow, with parties agreeing to continue efforts to unblock transport links in region. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov 9 June visited Armenian capital Yerevan, said that “simplified” border crossing procedures would be used on railway and motorway connecting mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia; while providing few details, Lavrov did not exclude possibility of route being under Armenia’s jurisdiction. Armenian PM Pashinyan 14 June told media outlet Al Jazeera that “narrative about the so-called corridor [between Azerbaijan and exclave Nakhichevan] is unacceptable”, referencing 2020 agreement that mentioned only Lachin corridor, which connects Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) to Armenia via Azerbaijan. President Aliyev 23 June again accused Armenia of failing to provide transport link connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan exclave, as per 2020 agreement. Disagreements over status of NK persisted, hindering peace talks (see Nagorno-Karabakh). Speaking to local media, Pashinyan 27 June accused Azerbaijan of undermining diplomatic efforts in order “to legitimise a new war”. Meanwhile, Armenian defence ministry 20 June said one of its soldiers was killed 18-19 June on border with Azerbaijan. Since mid-April, Armenia has reported two soldiers killed at military positions between Azerbaijan’s Kelbajar district and Armenia’s Gegharkunik region, which have seen particularly deadly skirmishes since 2020.
European leaders recognised country’s European “perspective” and conditioned candidacy status on reforms amid largest pro-EU rallies in decades. Following 3 March EU membership bid in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, EU member states 23 June recognised Georgia’s “European perspective”, conditioned candidate status on fulfilling “outstanding priorities” regarding political polarisation, judicial system, human rights and anti-corruption as per European Commission’s recommendation announced 17 June; PM Gharibashvili same day confirmed readiness “to implement all priorities”. Decision came as disappointment to many in capital Tbilisi, although not surprise; ahead of vote, European Parliament 9 June adopted critical resolution on Georgia, citing concerns about media and political environment. Gharibashvili 11 June said resolution was “full of lies” and “insulting”. Several Georgian NGOs 12 June criticised Gharibashvili in joint statement, saying he was downplaying importance of candidate status, which could feed into “Eurosceptic attitudes” and which echoed “Russian narratives”. President Zourabichvili 16 June tried mobilising public, all political parties and EU ambassadors to pro-Europe rally in Tbilisi; turnout was poor. Yet more than 100,000 people 20 June rallied in Tbilisi in support of candidacy status decision in Belgian capital Brussels, chanting: “I am Georgian, and therefore I am European”; demonstration was one of largest in country’s 31 years of independence.
While security situation remained calm, diplomatic process between Yerevan and Baku did not advance significantly. Situation in NK remained calm throughout month: no reports of clashes, shootings or new causalities. Yet talks made little progress. Speaking to local media, Armenian PM Pashinyan 27 June accused Azerbaijan of undermining diplomatic efforts in order “to legitimise a new war”. Amid ongoing protests organised by Armenian opposition over govt’s stance regarding future status of NK, Pashinyan 15 June addressed parliament, saying that “any status” guaranteeing security, rights and freedoms of NK people should be considered “real solution”; he claimed alternative would be “annihilation not only of Nagorno-Karabakh, but of Armenia as well”. Azerbaijani President Aliyev next day accused Armenian govt of raising NK’s future status despite “verbal agreement” to refrain from discussing topic; also used opportunity to criticise Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, saying it had achieved “zero results” in NK conflict settlement and that there was no need for it. Other parties insisted it remained important international format for negotiations. Notably, U.S. official 20 June praised Minsk Group’s continued relevance and highlighted U.S. readiness to cooperate with Russia on NK; Pashinyan 28 June echoed support for OSCE Minsk Group. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov 24 June once more accused U.S. and France of trying to dismantle Minsk group. Disagreements over resumed operations of transportation route between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia persisted (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).
Crackdown on dissenting voices continued, border attacks from Ukraine increased, Western states and allies introduced more sanctions. NGO OVD-Info said authorities 12 June detained at least 67 people during Russia Day celebrations, many previously seen protesting war in Ukraine (see Ukraine). Foreign ministry 28 June announced that two Swedish organisations must cease operations. State Duma next day passed bill expanding criteria for individuals and organisations who can be listed “foreign agents”. This follows European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision 14 June to condemn law on foreign agents adopted in 2012; President Putin 11 June signed law on non-execution of ECHR decisions made after 15 March. Lawmakers 30 June approved legislation allowing fast-track bans on foreign media outlets. Govt continued crackdown on opposition. Court in capital Moscow 8 June handed prison term to politician Lyubov Sobol; news surfaced 14 June that authorities had transferred imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny to Penal Colony No. 6, known for harsh conditions, in Vladimir region; court in Moscow 24, 28 June jailed politicians Mikhail Lobanov and Ilya Yashin respectively, both for 15 days. Authorities reported more attacks from Ukraine in border regions. Governor of Bryansk region 14 June said missile struck Zaimishche village in Klintsy district; governor of Kursk region 19 June reported strike in Belov district; drone 22 June struck Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery. Western states and allies continued sanctions. Notably, EU 3 June imposed sixth sanctions package; U.S. 28 June unveiled new sanctions, including ban on imports of Russian gold. Bloomberg media company 27 June reported that Russia defaulted on its foreign debt for first time since 1918. In response to sanctions, Gazprom 14 June announced it would reduce gas supplies to Europe through Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 40%. Foreign ministry during month banned hundreds of British, Australian, Canadian and U.S. citizens from entering country, including U.S. President Biden’s wife and daughter on 25 June. Lithuania 18 June banned transit of EU sanctioned goods through its territory, cutting off Russian exclave Kaliningrad; Russia warned Lithuania of tough retaliatory measures. Russian hacking group Killnet 27 June claimed responsibility for cyberattack on Lithuania’s govt agency websites.
Authorities continued crackdown on dissent. Repression of independent media and opposition persisted amid flurry of arrests and jail sentences. Notably, Supreme Court 1 June rejected appeal by bloggers and opposition activists, including Siarhei Tsikhanouski — imprisoned husband of exiled opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya — who was sentenced in Dec 2021 for allegedly organising mass disorder, inciting social hatred and disrupting social order; court in capital Minsk 14 June designated news outlet Tut.by Media “extremist” and banned it; Minsk court 23 June sentenced philosopher Uladzimer Matskevich to five years in prison for disrupting “social order”, creating extremist group and insulting President Lukashenko. Outgoing U.S. special envoy for Belarus 9 June said “release of all political prisoners will ease sanctions”.
Russian forces captured eastern Severodonetsk city, Ukrainian partisans stepped-up insurgency in Russian-controlled areas, and European leaders granted Ukraine EU candidate status. After weeks of bombardments and street fighting, President Zelenskky 25 June confirmed that Russian forces had fully occupied Severodonetsk city, giving Russia control of almost all of Luhansk region in east. Severodonetsk’s twin city Lysychansk suffered heavy shelling as Russian forces attempted to encircle it, but city remained in Ukrainian control by late June. Elsewhere in east, Russian forces stepped up attacks on Kharkiv city; shelling began 21 June, killing at least 15. Ukrainian strikes in Russian-controlled Donbas cities increased. Notably, Russian-backed separatists 13 June claimed Ukrainian shelling killed at least five in Donetsk city. Ukrainian partisans in Russian-controlled areas accelerated insurgency. Notably, explosion 12 June occurred in Melitopol city in south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region and 18 June in southern port city of Kherson; car bomb 24 June killed Ukrainian official who joined Russian occupation administration in Kherson. In south, Ukrainian forces crossed Ingulets river as part of counteroffensive to retake Kherson and forced Russian troops to withdraw 8-10km by 8 June. In important victory, Russian forces 30 June withdrew from Snake Island in Black Sea following days of Ukrainian strikes. In north, Russian forces 5, 26 June fired missiles in Kyiv, first strikes on capital in over one month. In centre, missile strike 27 June on shopping centre in Kremenchuk city killed at least 20. International Organization for Migration 16 June reported over 5.1mn refugees and 7.1mn internally displaced. Russia and Türkiye 8 June concluded talks on grain exports from Ukrainian ports without Kyiv’s participation; Russian-appointed official 30 June said ship carrying grain left Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk in Zaporizhzhia region, first such shipment since Feb invasion. Leaders from Germany, France, Italy and Romania 16 June visited Kyiv; European Commission next day backed Ukraine for EU candidate status, which European leaders 23 June approved. U.S., UK and others 15, 17, 23 June announced further military assistance. Amid concerns of widespread sexual violence in conflict with Russia, parliament 20 June ratified Istanbul Convention on violence against women. Ukraine and Russia 29 June separately announced biggest prisoner swap since Feb invasion.
Republic of Cyprus protested Türkiye’s new measures supporting Turkish Cypriots, while assisting “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) in dousing wildfires. De facto tourism minister of “TRNC” 2 June announced Türkiye would designate Turkish Cypriot Ercan airport as domestic flight route; announcement followed Türkiye’s financial package for “TRNC”, which was agreed in April and made public in May, that triggered debate during month; Turkish officials claim measures are aimed at decreasing cost of flights to Cyprus and supporting north of island that remains economically isolated and faces serious economic strains. Republic of Cyprus (RoC) reacted harshly to measures; President Anastasiades 6 June said country will lodge complaint with UN over what he described as Türkiye’s ambition to exert “complete control” over “TRNC”. Tensions over such issues further reduced prospects of relaunching formal negotiations between communities, while room to discuss confidence-building measures also shrinks. Meanwhile, RoC assisted “TRNC” in combating widespread wildfires that broke out toward end of month after latter requested help; RoC sent two firefighting aircrafts and one helicopter, while UK and Israel also supported efforts. After RoC issued navigational advisory 19 June-3 July to install fiber optics inside Türkiye’s exclusive economic zone, Türkiye issued counter-advisory to block plan, insisting areas are inside its continental shelf.
Authorities pursued plans for military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria and detained dozens of Kurdish party members at home; meanwhile, tensions with Greece rose. President Erdoğan 1 June announced fifth cross-border operation into northern Syria, hoping to clear Tal Rifaat and Manbij of People’s Protection Forces (YPG) militants – Syrian affiliate of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) – and extend 30km “safe zone” south of border (see Syria); U.S. and Russian opposition appeared, for now, to stall operation. Military also continued PKK operations in northern Iraq and, to lesser extent, south-eastern Turkey, albeit at slower pace compared to May. At home, authorities increased pressure on pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Notably, police 3 June detained over 40 HDP members, including party’s provincial co-chairs in Istanbul, Bingöl, and Edirne cities; 8 June detained over 20 Kurdish journalists in south-eastern majority Kurdish province of Diyarbakır, 16 of whom were later arrested on terrorism propaganda charges. Authorities detained at least 110 individuals with alleged Islamic State links during month. Tensions escalated with Greece over Eastern Mediterranean/Aegean Sea disputes. After complaining in May about Turkish military flights over Greek islands, Athens 1 June put its military on high alert and 6 June protested Türkiye’s actions at UN; Turkish officials accused Greece of militarising eastern Aegean islands in contravention of international treaties. Greek defence minister 7 June said Athens was “dangerously close to its limits”, while FM Çavuşoğlu same day questioned Greek sovereignty over some Aegean islands, which drew harsh reactions from Athens. NATO Sec Gen Jens Stoltenberg 14 June called on sides to de-escalate and resolve disputes; tensions and military manoeuvres in Aegean Sea raise risk that small incident could spark escalation. Defying expectations at NATO summit, Ankara 29 June lifted veto on Finland and Sweden’s accession in return for measures from both countries addressing its concerns. Ankara continued efforts to establish safe corridor to ship over 20 tonnes of grain from Ukraine, critical for global food security (see Ukraine). Govt remained invested in diplomatic efforts to normalise ties with regional adversaries, receiving Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman 22 June (see Saudi Arabia).
Kazakhs voted overwhelmingly in support of constitutional amendments in referendum, which offer greater parliamentary powers. Following nationwide protests in Jan that left 232 dead, Kazakhs 5 June voted in referendum on President Tokayev’s proposed constitutional amendments, seen by some observers as attempt by Tokayev to prevent former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his relatives’ return to political sphere; referendum proposed 56 amendments, including limits to presidential powers, ban on Nazarbayev’s relatives from holding govt positions and more parliamentary powers. Central Election Commission chairman 6 June said 77.18% voted in favour of changes. Some activists and human rights campaigners said changes included “very few limits to presidential power”, given that president will “retain the right to appoint the prime minister, to appoint key ministers in the cabinet, to veto laws and all the other powers that the president has enjoyed”. During 19th EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council held 20 June, EU welcomed referendum results but highlighted need for independent investigation into Jan unrest. Meanwhile, in 17 June plenary session with Russian President Putin, Tokayev rejected Putin’s claim that former Soviet Union was “historical Russia”; also rejected recognition of so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Ukraine’s east as independent states, despite Russia declaring them independent countries in Feb (see Ukraine).
Skirmishes erupted along border with Tajikistan. Border Guard Service 3 June said clashes broke out along border with Tajikistan after Tajik border guards reportedly entered Kyrgyz territory; authorities same day reported unspecified number of wounded on both sides. Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards 14 June exchanged gunfire, reportedly killing one Tajik guard. Authorities from both sides reportedly held talks, while situation along border remained tense.
Skirmishes erupted along border with Kyrgyzstan, while police carried out arrests in restive Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). Kyrgyzstan’s Border Guard Service 3 June said clashes broke out along border with Tajikistan after Tajik border guards reportedly entered Kyrgyz territory. Kyrgyz authorities same day reported unspecified number of wounded on both sides. Tajik and Kyrgyz border guards 14 June exchanged gunfire, reportedly killing one Tajik border guard. Authorities from both sides reportedly held talks, while situation along border remained tense. Police made number of arrests in GBAO following violent anti-govt protests in May. Notably, authorities 11 June said three “leaders of organised criminal groups of the city of Khorugh” had been detained, accused of murder, illegal trafficking and “the creation of a criminal community”; authorities 12 June arrested brother of fugitive opposition politician Alim Sherzamonov, wanted for allegedly organising and financing protests.
President Mirziyoev sought constitutional amendments that could allow him to seek third term. President Mirziyoev 20 June proposed constitutional amendments that, among other things, could allow him to seek third term in office; current election laws stipulate two five-year term limits. Delegation from Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights 15 June released report that concluded presidential election held in Oct 2021 lacked competition and that significant procedural irregularities were observed. Kunz.uz media platform 1 June reported dramatic increase in price of bread, at times by up to 75%, in some stores in capital Tashkent and other regions since war in Ukraine (which has impacted global food supplies) began (see Ukraine).
Latin America & Caribbean
Despite tense electoral atmosphere, all parties recognised presidential victory of Gustavo Petro, paving way for peaceful transfer of power 7 August; Truth Commission published long awaited report on decades-long conflict. In second round of presidential elections held 19 June, left-leaning candidate and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro won with 50.4 per cent of vote, defeating populist and businessman Rodolfo Hernández; victory marks first time leftist candidate has won presidential elections in recent history. Hernández and former president Iván Duque immediately recognised result, paving way for peaceful transfer of power on 7 August. U.S. Sec of State Antony Blinken and UN Sec Gen António Guterres 20 June welcomed “strength” of Colombian democracy. National Liberation Army same day signalled willingness to advance talks with incoming govt. Petro 22 June announced he had spoken with Venezuelan govt “to open the borders and restore the full exercise of human rights at the border”. Amid fears of violence and concern about possible Petro victory, military 19 June deployed 320,000 troops to polling stations and other key infrastructure on election day, 20,000 more than in previous elections; Ombudsman’s office same day said elections proceeded “normally” notwithstanding “isolated incidents against security forces” in Caquetá (south) and Norte de Santander (north east) departments. Petro 14 June issued open letter to security forces in bid to win support among rank-and-file, notably suggesting improvements to social benefits and promotion opportunities; largest associations of retired military officers rejected proposals. Head of army Gen Eduardo Zapateiro 28 June announced resignation. Authorities 10 June confirmed death of Ricardo Abel Ayala Orrego, alias Cabuyo, head of 36th Front of dissidences of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Antioquia department (north west), bringing number of dissident leaders killed in 2022 to five. Meanwhile, unknown assailants 27 June killed environmental leader and member of leftist coalition Pacto Histórico Juan David Ochoa in Granada municipality, Antioquia department (north west). Truth Commission 28 June published long-awaited report on conflict between authorities and FARC, said at least 450,664 people killed and 121,768 people disappeared between 1985-2018; recommended revised approach to drug policy, end to aerial fumigations that eradicate coca plants, and reforms to military.
Anti-govt protests spread across country, turning violent in some areas as demonstrators clashed with security forces. Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) 13 June called for nationwide anti-govt protests, demanding President Lasso’s administration freeze fuel prices, declare moratorium on small farmers’ bank debts, and limit oil and mining expansion. Authorities 14 June arrested CONAIE’s President Leónidas Iza; released him next day. Protests 14 June began with peaceful roadblocks; CONAIE 15 June said over 9,000 protesters had joined roadblocks in 14 of 24 provinces. Violence however subsequently escalated; notably, after protestors 14 June tried to enter one of state-owned oil Petroecuador’s stations in Sucumbíos province, clashes with security forces erupted, leaving ten soldiers wounded. Govt 17 June declared state of exception in Imbabura, Cotopaxi, and Pichincha provinces; 20 June expanded order to Chimborazo, Tungurahua and Pastaza provinces in bid to curb demonstrations. According to interior minister, violent clashes 21 June flared in Puyo city between soldiers and demonstrators reportedly armed with guns, spears and explosives, leaving one protestor dead and six police officers wounded; govt said 18 more officers were missing following attack on police station in Puyo. Lasso 22 June claimed govt was ready for dialogue; Iza said talks were conditioned on state of emergency being repealed, which govt refused. Thousands 22 June demonstrated in capital Quito. Authorities 23 June said at least five people had died since protests began, with 120 police officers injured and over 100 detained. CONAIE and other organisations 25 June met with govt officials; Lasso 26 June ended state of emergency and cut fuel price by 10 cents per gallon; CONAI 27 June said price reduction was “insufficient and without guarantee”. National Assembly 25-26 June held two sessions to debate opposition’s proposal to remove Lasso from office; in vote held 28 June, 80 lawmakers voted for measure, 12 votes shy of 92 needed to ouster Lasso who clung onto power; govt same day called off talks after military accused protestors of killing soldier. Govt 29 June reintroduced state of emergency in four provinces, citing escalating violence, and agreed to talks mediated by Catholic church; parties 30 June reached agreement to lower fuel costs among other things, ending protests.
Talks about resumption of Mexico dialogue continued, govt supporters attacked opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and President Maduro embarked on international tour to strengthen foreign relations. While U.S. govt and Venezuelan opposition continued to insist during month that resumption of suspended Mexico talks between govt and opposition was imminent, series of violent attacks against opposition leader Juan Guaidó during country tour cast doubt. Chavista militants 4 June tried to prevent Guaidó from speaking in Maracaibo municipality by throwing chairs at organisers; 11 June forced Guaidó to flee meeting in Cojedes state. U.S. Sec of State Antony Blinken 12 June and European External Action Service 15 June condemned violence. In slight easing of sanctions, U.S. State Department reportedly sent letters to European oil companies Eni and Repsol early June allowing export of sanctioned Venezuelan oil to Europe for first time in two years, in apparent move to collect billions in unpaid debt owed by govt. U.S. Treasury Department 17 June removed Carlos Malpica Flores, former national treasurer and nephew of first lady, from U.S. sanctions list. Internationally, U.S. barred Venezuela, along with Nicaragua and Cuba, from 6-10 June Americas Summit in Los Angeles, defying pressure from Mexican President López Obrador, who subsequently boycotted event. U.S. President Biden 8 June held phone conversation with opposition leader Guaidó, reaffirmed support for interim leader and need for dialogue despite not inviting him to summit. U.S. delegation 27 June visited capital Caracas in attempt to secure release of detained Americans; effort failed and delegation left country on 30 June. In apparent bid to show he is not internationally isolated, Maduro 7 June embarked on trip to Turkey, Iran, Algeria, Kuwait and Qatar. In Iran, Maduro 11 June signed 20-year cooperation plan with govt. Venezuelan govt 4 June announced it would hold “counter-summit on 28-29 June” in San Cristobal city near Colombian border to reject Madrid NATO summit, which focused on Ukraine war. Meanwhile, Colombia’s President-elect Gustavo Petro 22 June spoke with Maduro about his commitment to reopen shared border, closed since 2015; Maduro reaffirmed willingness to “re-establish normalcy” at border.
Tensions ran high in lead-up to presidential elections as President Bolsonaro continued attacks on Supreme Court; concerns rose over lawlessness in Amazon forest. Preparations for elections scheduled in October continued amid deepening tensions between Bolsonaro administration and Supreme Court. Bolsonaro 6 June criticised Supreme Court justice and current president of Supreme Electoral Court for meeting international ambassadors to discuss electoral process, accusing justice of suggesting president might not accept possible defeat in October polls. Bolsonaro next day criticised Supreme Court removal of congressman Fernando Francischini over promoting fake news during 2018 elections, questioned if Supreme Court would “have the courage” to remove him from office too for raising same “reasonable doubts” over electoral process. Authorities 22 June arrested former education minister and two evangelical pastors for allegedly providing federal funds to mayors who would help Bolsonaro’s campaign; all three released next day. Lawlessness in Amazon forest came under spotlight after British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira 5 June disappeared in Javari Valley, Amazon region; rescue operators 15 June recovered bodies. Police 8, 15, and 18 June arrested three suspects. Local indigenous group UNIVAJA 17 June questioned police statement that killers acted alone, saying it had warned police since 2021 of organised criminal groups operating in Javari. Federal Police 21 June opened new investigation into possible role of illegal fishing groups in murders. Meanwhile, in Mato Grosso do Sul state (south west), clashes between security forces and members of Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous group 24 June in Amambai municipality killed one.
Govt continued to make progress on tackling corruption and first signs of disagreement with U.S. emerged. President Castro’s govt continued to advance fight against corruption. Notably, court 10 June sentenced Marco Bográn, former executive of govt agency responsible for procuring emergency medical supplies, to ten years in prison for overpricing purchase of more than 470,000 masks and seven mobile hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities 10 June began process of seizing assets belonging to extradited former head of National Police Juan Carlos Bonilla. Meanwhile, court 20 June sentenced former head of hydroelectric dam company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA) to 22 years in prison for role in assassination of environmentalist Berta Cáceres. Month brought first signs of disagreement with U.S.. FM Eduardo Enrique Reina 6-10 June attended Americas Summit hosted by U.S. in Los Angeles; Castro did not attend due to U.S. administration’s exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. At summit, U.S. confirmed nearly $3.2 bn of new investments in northern Central America to stem migration. UN Sec Gen 9 June met Reina, reiterated support for immediate establishment of International Commission against Impunity in Honduras (CICIH); Reina said commission could be established before end of year. EU Ambassador 13 June said EU would not rule out supporting commission as long as it is independent.
Authorities continued crackdown on gangs despite international criticism; economic situation worsened amid Bitcoin’s volatility. President Bukele 1 June highlighted success of his security measures to Legislative Assembly, saying “we have almost won the war against the gangs”. National Police 24 June reported authorities had arrested over 42,250 alleged gang members since state of emergency began late March. Legislative Assembly 21 June approved third extension of state of emergency, while Bukele 22 June announced construction of “Terrorism Confinement Centre”, due to house around 20,000 gang members. Shootout between suspected gang members and security forces 28 June, left three police dead in Santa Ana department (centre); Bukele same day said govt would “ramp up” war against gangs. Govt crackdown on gangs continued to prompt condemnation. Notably, NGO Amnesty International 2 June accused govt of “massive human rights violations”; Human Rights Ombudsman 9 June announced his office had received nearly 2,000 complaints of human rights violations in first two months of state of emergency (27 March- 25 May); and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 13 June expressed concern about arbitrary detentions. As of 24 June, human rights groups reported at least 52 deaths since 27 March. Meanwhile, Bukele’s relations with U.S. deteriorated further. According to Associated Press media outlet, Bukele, who did not attend 6-10 June Americas Summit held in Los Angeles, U.S., 9 June declined to speak with U.S. Sec of State Antony Blinken. U.S. State Department 24 June called on country to “immediately extradite” some 15 MS12 gang leaders; govt had yet to respond by end of month despite extradition treaty with U.S.. Economic prospects continued to worsen amid concerns that Bukele’s renewed tensions with U.S. and multilateral financial institutions could impact govt’s ability to access foreign funds and investments in future. Central Bank 8 June announced that inflation reached 7.5 per cent in May, highest rate since 2010. Bitcoin 24 June plunged to around $20,000.
Crackdown on civil society organisations continued apace, U.S. and EU took further steps to condemn govt, and parliament authorised entry of Russian troops to combat illicit activities at sea. National Assembly 2 June cancelled legal permits of 93 NGOs, 10 and 13 June 26 more international NGOs, 15-16 June 191 national NGOS, 26 June 101 more NGOs, bringing total number banned since Dec 2018 to around 760. National Police 10 June raided and closed media outlet “Trinchera de la Noticia” in capital Managua. Persecution of religious leaders increased. Notably, police 1 June arrested Catholic priest Manuel Salvador García in Nandaime town, Granada (centre), on charges of aggression against woman, becoming first Church representative detained since Ortega returned to power. After said woman refused to press charges against García, judge 22 June sentenced him to two years in prison for aggression against five others. Govt 28 June ordered closure of Catholic radio station in diocese of Matagalpa (north), making it second Catholic Church-owned station to be banned from broadcasting in last two months. U.S. and EU took additional measures to pressure govt. Notably, European Parliament 9 June approved resolution condemning systematic repression of opposition; U.S. Sec of State Antony Blinken 13 June announced visa restrictions on 93 individuals accused of undermining democracy, including judges, lawmakers and govt officials. U.S. Treasury 17 June sanctioned state-owned mining company Empresa Nicaraguense de Minas (ENIMINAS) and its president, Ruy Delgado López. Meanwhile, National Assembly 14 June ratified authorisation for entry of 180 Russian troops into country to participate in operations against illicit activities in Caribbean and Pacific Ocean.
Amid political stalemate, gang violence continued to run high, notably with group seizing control of country’s highest court. Negotiations between so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and prime minister) and acting PM Ariel Henry had yet to start by end of month, as both parties during month fell short of agreeing on terms and agenda of discussions. Amid ongoing political impasse, hundreds of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s supporters 26 June marched to his residence in capital Port-au-Prince, calling for his return to power. Gang violence continued to disrupt security. Members of “5 Segonn” gang 10 June attacked Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, country’s highest court, in fourth such attack since May, storming and seizing control of building; gang 14 June reportedly set fire to court files and removed safes, furniture, computers and vehicles. Police had not been able to regain control of building by end of month. 400 Mawozo gang members 7 June released three of eight Turkish missionaries kidnapped 8 May during bus hijacking in Croix-des-Bouquets neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince; 15 June released five remaining hostages. Police 26 June arrested alleged “Baz Pilat” gang leader Ezekiel Alexander; supporters 27-28 June staged protests in Carrefour-Feuilles, Port-au-Prince, demanding his release. 1 June marked anniversary of gangs taking control of National Route 2 section in Martissant neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince. U.S.-based National Human Rights Defense Network 10 June reported armed individuals murdered 44 police officers between 17 June 2021 and 6 June 2022. UN Sec Gen António Guterres 16 June reported gang violence killed at least 782 Haitians and saw 540 kidnapped 1 Jan-31 May 2022. Haitian chancellor Jean Victor Généus same day affirmed police commitment to combatting gangs and called for international assistance toward operations, said “free democratic elections” were “not conceivable” in current environment.
Criminal violence continued at high levels, with rising deadly attacks on security forces; ruling party MORENA consolidated governorship positions ahead of 2024 presidential elections. In Guerrero state (south), two unidentified assailants 6 June killed chicken vendor in market in Chilpancingo municipality; two more were attacked 9 June in same market, leaving one dead; six more assassinated 11 June, including one child; attacks apparently committed by criminal group looking to extract protection payments from sector. In Chiapas state (south), unidentified gunmen 8 June shot dead Rubén de Jesús Valdez Díaz, mayor of Teopisca city, making him 17th mayor to be killed during López Obrador’s presidency since Dec 2018. In Tamaulipas state (centre), unknown assailant 29 June killed local reporter in state capital Ciudad Victoria amid ongoing targeting of journalists. Meanwhile, dozens of armed individuals 14 June confronted each other in San Cristóbal de la Casas municipality in apparent competition over two local market centres and related extortion and illicit drug activities. In Mexico state (centre), armed confrontation between security forces and suspected members of La Familia Michoacana 14 June left eleven dead in Texcaltitlán municipality. Violence against security forces also intensified. In Nuevo Leon State (north east), unidentified gunmen 26 June ambushed and killed six police officers in Anáhuac municipality; in Tamaulipas state (centre), armed men 26 June ambushed police patrol in Mante municipality, killing one police officer; and in Guanajuato state (centre), assailants 26 June killed former police director. Authorities 11-12 June recorded 257 homicides nationwide, making it second most violent weekend in 2022. Ruling party MORENA 5 June won four out of six governorships up for election in Quintana Roo, Hidalgo, Oaxaca and Tamaulipas states, lost Durango and Aguascalientes. MORENA now controls 22 out of 32 state governorships. President López Obrador following day called upon MORENA leaders aspiring for presidency in 2024 elections to start discussing their programs with party members, who will decide on candidate in internal vote; Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, FM Marcelo Ebrard and Interior Minister Adán Augusto López are all frontrunners.
Middle East & North Africa
Israeli security forces continued lethal raids across West Bank, while Israel’s governing coalition collapsed, paving way for fifth election in less than four years. Following tensions around Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade in May, situation in area was calmer during month; however, risk remains of escalation around religious Eid al-Adha festivities 9-13 July. In West Bank, as of 15 June, Israeli forces conducted over 220 incursions into West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, with some turning violent, and arrested 57 Palestinians. Notably, Israeli soldiers 1 June shot dead Palestinian woman at entrance of al-Aroub refugee camp in Hebron city, prompting Palestinian protests. Israeli forces 2 June killed five Palestinians, including child, during incursions in Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah cities. Israeli forces 9 June detained 24 Palestinians in 37 raids in multiple locales, marking most arrests in 24-hour period this year. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces 10 June wounded seven Palestinians, including four children, in Qalqilya city. Israeli forces’ pre-dawn raid in Jenin refugee camp 17 June killed three Palestinians. Palestinian Ministry of Health 17 June reported over 70 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since start of 2022. Clashes 29-30 June erupted in Nablus city where Israeli forces claimed Palestinian gunmen fired on Jewish worshippers, leaving three Israelis and dozens of Palestinians injured. EU 15 June agreed to release funding to Palestinian territories for 2021 that it had withheld over concerns of content inside Palestinian school textbooks. Regional parliament of Catalonia 16 June became first parliament inside EU to pass resolution declaring Israel is committing crime of apartheid. Meanwhile, PM Naftali Bennett and FM Yair Lapid 20 June agreed to hold vote on dissolving Knesset, collapsing eight party coalition govt and making Lapid caretaker PM, after acknowledging that there was no chance to pass emergency regulations that extend Israeli civil law to settlers in West Bank; Knesset dissolved 30 June, awaiting fifth election since April 2019 to be held 1 Nov. Egypt, Israel and EU 15 June signed deal to increase liquefied natural gas sales to EU countries to help reduce dependence on Russian supplies. Shadow hostilities with Iran became more visible (see Iran).
President Aoun invited PM Mikati to form next govt, while tensions rose with Israel over disputed maritime border. President Aoun 23 June tasked incumbent PM Najib Mikati to form new govt after Mikati secured support of 54 out of 128 members of parliament – lowest level of support for any PM-designate since end of civil war in 1990; Mikati will likely face challenges to form govt that can rely on sufficiently strong parliamentary support to move forward with substantial reform, while most observers expect that no new govt can be formed before compromise is found over successor of Aoun, whose term expires on 31 Oct. Meanwhile, floating production storage and offloading facility operated by energy company Energean 5 June arrived at position near maritime border between Israel and Lebanon to prepare commercial extraction scheduled for Sept 2022 of gas from Karish gas field, which company acquired in 2016 with authorisation of Israeli govt; field is located some 90km off both countries’ coastline and has been area of dispute between govts. In response, Hizbollah Sec Gen Hassan Nasrallah 9 June called upon all Lebanese political forces to unite in defence of country’s maritime resources, warned Energean against extraction activities and threatened group may take matter into its own hands. At invitation of govt, U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein 13 June arrived in capital Beirut seeking compromise to dispute following previous failed attempts this year; uncertainty persists around whether govt will adhere to official 2010 position of maritime border known as “line 23” or adopt expanded claim presented in 2020 known as “line 29” that claims part of Karish field. 13 MPs elected last month on platforms of opposition to established parties 16 June voiced support for “line 29”; despite heated public debate and many casting support of “line 29” as patriotic duty, Aoun resisted signing decree to officially modify govt’s 2010 position. Govt, UN and over 100 humanitarian partners 20 June announced $3.2bn appeal for 2022 Lebanon Crisis Response Plan aimed at providing support for 1.5mn Lebanese, 1.5mn displaced Syrians and more than 209,000 Palestinian refugees.
Israeli airstrike targeted Damascus airport, northern Syria braced for possible Turkish offensive, and country awaited outcome of crunch vote on cross-border aid at UN Security Council in July. Israeli airstrike 10 June hit Damascus International Airport, injuring one civilian and causing damage to runways; airport next day suspended all flights and 23 June reopened; Israeli media claimed attack sought to disrupt weapons smuggling from Iran to Hizbollah. In north west, Idlib province’s March 2020 ceasefire held despite violations. Turkish President Erdoğan 1 June said new military operation targeting Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced in May would target Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas in Aleppo province; Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) 7 June said it was ready to cooperate with Syrian govt to resist Turkish incursion. Russia and govt reportedly reinforced positions close to Turkish border, amid reported near-daily rocket and artillery fire early month. While U.S. and Russian opposition appear for now to have forestalled offensive, operation, if it goes ahead, could create new instability in north and strain Türkiye’s ties with West. Fighting among factions of Türkiye-backed militia coalition Syrian National Army 18 June reportedly killed at least eight and injured scores in al-Bab city, Aleppo province; Türkiye next day reportedly facilitated deal to end clashes. Meanwhile, protests against high electricity prices and power outages erupted early month in Turkish-controlled areas of Aleppo province; security forces 3 June killed one protestor in Afrin city. Low-scale Islamic State (ISIS) attacks and Russian anti-ISIS airstrikes continued. U.S.-led coalition 16 June captured senior ISIS leader in northern Syria and 27 June killed “senior leader” of al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Hurras al-Din in Idlib province. In Raqqa province, ISIS 20 June killed eleven govt soldiers and two civilians in Jabal al-Bishri. Russia 15 June carried out airstrikes at al-Tanf military base used by U.S. and UK forces in Homs province; Russia reportedly notified U.S. beforehand. Ahead of expiry of UN mandate to deliver aid from Türkiye into opposition-controlled north west Syria on 10 July, UN Sec Gen 20 June appealed to UN Security Council to extend mandate; UN late month warned “people will die” without renewal.
Govt ramped up nuclear activity and scaled down external monitoring, while resumption of indirect U.S.-Iran talks offered faint glimmer of hope in salvaging 2015 deal and tensions with Israel rose. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi 6 June told agency’s board that Iran had failed to provide adequate explanations regarding traces of uranium found at undeclared sites. Board by vote of 30 to two (Russia and China) 8 June passed resolution expressing “profound concern” over lack of progress and called on govt to address queries. Govt next day condemned censure, adopting measures to ramp up nuclear activity and restrict transparency: ahead of vote, govt began installing cascade of advanced IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz plant with plans for further two cascades, and took pair of IAEA cameras offline; govt 8 June began dismantling 27 IAEA cameras, which IAEA following day characterised as potential “fatal blow” to restore 2015 nuclear deal. Govt 14 June pointed to possible “external elements” that may be responsible for uranium traces at undeclared sites. In positive step, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 25 June announced EU would mediate resumed indirect U.S.-Iran negotiations in Qatar; talks late June ended according to U.S. with “no progress”. Meanwhile, shadow hostilities with Israel grew more visible. News 3 June surfaced of death of Ali Esmailzadeh, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) colonel who, Iranian media asserted, “died after falling from a terrace in his house”; two other individuals – engineer at military aerospace facility and geologist – died on 31 May and 2 June in suspected poisoning. In sign of rising tensions that underscore growing risks of escalation, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett 8 June said “we’ve created a new equation by going for the head [of the octopus]”, referring to shift away from only targeting Iran’s tentacles, meaning regional proxies. Israel 13 June issued travel alert for Israelis to avoid visiting Türkiye, citing alleged Iranian threats. U.S. 16 June sanctioned Iranian companies and individuals allegedly supporting sale of oil to China and East Asia. U.S. reported IRGC vessels 20 June approached U.S. navy ships in “unsafe and unprofessional” manner, second such incident since March.
Largest parliamentary bloc resigned amid deadlocked govt formation, while Türkiye struck Shiite militias for first time and continued to target Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates. Stalled govt formation efforts entered ninth month; in protest of deadlock, 73 lawmakers from Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc 12 June resigned and Sadr 15 June announced he would withdraw from political process, raising prospect of Sadr encouraging street protests; parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi 12 June accepted resignations. Parliament 23 June held emergency session for replacement MPs to take their oath. Earlier in month, parliament 8 June approved emergency food security bill backed by Sadr, allocating $17bn for food, gas, electricity and public service salaries. Drones allegedly launched by Shiite paramilitary coalition Popular Mobilisation Forces’ (PMF) 30th battalion 2, 9 June targeted Türkiye’s Zilkan base in Bashiqa, Ninewa governorate; group has launched eight attacks on base this year. In response, reports suggested Türkiye 9 June launched indirect fire against 30th battalion, resulting in two casualties in Ninewa plains, in first Turkish assault to date on PMF group not aligned with PKK; tit-for-tat attacks between Türkiye and PMF could increase in disputed areas of Ninewa. Meanwhile, Türkiye continued operations targeting PKK in northern Iraq; notably, in Sinjar district of Ninewa, Türkiye 15 June allegedly conducted airstrikes against PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) positions in Sinuni town, killing two and injuring seven. Turkish drone 17 June targeted vehicle in Kalar town in Sulaymaniyah governorate, killing four PKK militants. In Kurdistan, judicial council 4 June rejected federal supreme court’s Feb ruling that declared regional govt’s development of oil and gas fields outside federal supervision “unconstitutional”. IED-laden drone 8 June hit Pirmam road near U.S. consulate facility in regional capital Erbil, injuring three; security forces claimed Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for attack, while Iranian media said strike targeted Israeli secret service. Low-level Islamic State (ISIS) attacks and counter-ISIS operations continued throughout month; notably, security forces 3 June announced killing four ISIS members in Wadi al-Qathf region in Anbar governorate.
Warring parties extended truce in Yemen and U.S. President Biden announced visit to Jeddah port city in July. Saudi-led coalition and Huthis refrained from cross-border attacks after warring parties in Yemen 2 June renewed April truce for two more months (see Yemen). News 13 June surfaced that Oman facilitated talks in May on border security between govt and Huthis. U.S. White House 14 June confirmed U.S. President Biden will visit Saudi Arabia in July as part of first Middle East trip of his presidency; Biden is expected to meet King Salman and, informally, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In sign of warming ties with Türkiye, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 22 June visited Turkish capital Ankara to meet President Erdoğan, in first visit to country since killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Iranian foreign ministry 27 June said Riyadh wanted to resume talks with Iran; fifth round of talks were held in April. After months of resisting U.S. and European pressure to increase oil production, OPEC+ 2 June announced it would raise output by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August 2022.
Conflict parties extended April truce for two months, while negotiations over access to Taiz city remained central sticking point and divisions surfaced within govt. Warring parties 2 June renewed UN-mediated April truce for two months; truce – which is longest in effect since start of war in 2015 – has halted entirely cross-border attacks between Saudi-led coalition and Huthis and significantly slowed ground fighting. Low-scale fighting, however, continued during month across front lines, while conflict parties reportedly continued redeployment of military reinforcements and use of drones was reported in Marib, Hajjah, Saada, Hodeida, Taiz and al-Dhale governorates. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 3 June said 19 civilians had been killed in first two months of truce. In effort to fulfil truce’s third confidence-building measure, govt and Huthis 5 June began second round of negotiations in Jordanian capital Amman over reopening road access to Taiz city; UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg’s office 6 June presented proposal for phased reopening of roads. Huthis 24 June rejected UN proposal. After Huthis lifted ban on Grundberg’s entry to capital Sanaa, envoy 8 June visited city to meet Huthi Supreme Political Council President Mahdi al-Mashat and other Huthi officials, urging them to accept UN proposal. Separately, govt, Huthi and Saudi-led coalition representatives 6 June agreed to set up joint operation room to facilitate ceasefire. News 13 June surfaced that Oman facilitated talks in May on border security between Saudi Arabia and Huthis. Domestically, tensions within recently-formed Presidential Leadership Council surfaced, raising uncertainty over whether anti-Huthi bloc will remain united; notably, head of Southern Transitional Council (STC) Ayderous al-Zubaidi pushed for STC military wing, Security Belt Forces, to remain independent following govt’s decision in May to unify all anti-Huthi factions; STC reportedly has embarked on rampant recruitment across south. Meanwhile, security incidents in south rose, notably targeting STC-aligned individuals; IED 15 June killed journalist in Aden city. On economic front, food prices rose causing aid organisations to reduce food rations. With Yemeni riyal reaching 1,050 to U.S. dollar early month, state oil company in Aden 4 June increased fuel prices. Amid increasing power-cuts, as summer months approach, protests 5 June erupted in Mukalla city, Hadramawt governorate.
Relations with Spain continued to deteriorate over Western Sahara, and army conducted exercise near Moroccan border; harassment of journalists persisted. After Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez 8 June confirmed his country’s support for Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara before parliament, Algiers same day announced suspension of 2002 friendship and cooperation treaty with Madrid, and 9 June cut off bilateral trade. Spanish govt immediately expressed “regret” at Algiers’ decisions, while EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 10 June warned suspension of bilateral trade might violate EU-Algeria partnership agreement and lead to “retaliatory measures”. Army early June conducted live-ammunition night-time exercises in southern Tindouf area near border with Morocco, likely in show of force ahead of U.S.-Morocco annual joint military exercise launched 20 June. Authorities continued to curtail free speech. Algiers courts 7 June sentenced prominent journalist Ihsane El Kadi to six months in prison on charges of “spreading false information”; 13 June sentenced head of Ennahar media group, Mohamed Mokadem, to ten years’ imprisonment on fraud charges. Meanwhile, Algerian, Nigerian and Nigerien energy ministers around 20 June met in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in effort to revive trans-Saharan pipeline project to link Nigeria to Europe through Niger and Algeria.
Preparations for national dialogue moved forward, and fighting between security forces and Islamic State militants continued in Sinai Peninsula. Authorities 8 June appointed journalist and head of State Information Service Diaa Rashwan as general coordinator of President Sisi-sponsored national dialogue. Move sparked controversy among opposition forces, with coalition of seven political parties Civil Democratic Movement 10 June denouncing “unilateral” appointment, saying it does not augur well for fair and effective dialogue process. Rashwan later in month held consultations with political, economic and social actors with a view to launching formal dialogue in July. As part of appeasement efforts ahead of dialogue, authorities 13 June released group of 15 political prisoners, adding to 59 political detainees set free since late April. Imprisonment of opponents however continued: courts 5 June sentenced 17 people to jail, including some to life imprisonment for allegedly belonging to outlawed organisation Muslim Brotherhood (MB); 28 June sentenced ten people to death and over 50 others to life imprisonment for supporting or carrying out MB-led attacks against security forces between 2013 and 2015; NGO Amnesty International same day decried “grossly unfair mass trial” and urged authorities to quash death sentences. In response to recent spike in jihadist attacks in Sinai Peninsula, security forces 5 June launched operation against Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province (SP) west of Rafah town and in Sheikh Zuweid region. Encounters between militants and security forces in Rafah area reportedly killed large number of SP operatives 9-10 June; three soldiers 13 June; one army colonel and two tribal militia fighters around 18 June; and seven SP operatives 19-20 June. Airstrikes in same area 12 June killed six SP operatives. Russian trade minister 16 June announced Moscow and Cairo agreed to switch to local currencies for future business transactions, thus bypassing obstacles created by recent sanctions on Russia.
Crisis of two govts dragged on as UN-led talks failed to forge consensus on constitutional basis for elections. House of Representatives (HoR) 15 June passed Sirte-based PM Fathi Bashagha’s proposed govt budget. Bashagha unlikely to be able to tap into state funds, however, as Tripoli-based Govt of National Unity (GNU) immediately rejected budget, and Central Bank of Libya Governor Siddiq Elkebir, who is in charge of making disbursements into govt accounts, did not signal he would recognise budget. Bashagha’s efforts to win international support remained unsuccessful. UN Sec-Gen office 23 June said UN would continue to recognise Tripoli-based PM Abdelhamid Dabaiba as legitimate PM until elections are held. Delegates of HoR and Tripoli-based High State Council 12-20 June met in Egypt’s capital Cairo for third round of UN-sponsored political talks, failed to find agreement on constitutional basis for elections; new UN-convened talks between rival assemblies’ chairmen 28-29 June took place in Switzerland, failed to make breakthrough. Simultaneously, some politicians in recent weeks tried to forge consensus for “third” govt to replace both Bashagha and Dabaiba-led executives, while eastern strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and Dabaiba aides in June allegedly met outside Libya to negotiate deal aimed at persuading Haftar to drop support for Bashagha in favour of Dabaiba. Politically driven closures of oil sector throughout June persisted, with production fluctuating between 600,000-900,000 barrels/day, equivalent to 50-75% of country’s total oil production before closures; National Oil Corporation 30 June declared force majeure on oil terminals of Sidra and Ras Lanuf in Gulf of Sirte region due to shutdown of oilfields. Meanwhile, security situation in capital Tripoli remained tense. Notably, rival western militias 10 June clashed in Souk el-Tlath neighbourhood, leaving at least one dead; UN Support Mission in Libya next day expressed concerned and urged restraint, also reported mobilisation of armed groups from areas surrounding Tripoli. Heavy fighting between rival GNU-affiliated militias 22 June left three combatants and one civilian dead in Zawiyet Al-Dahmani neighbourhood. Pan-Arab media 23 June reported clashes at military base in Tripoli as 22 June transitional phase deadline set by 2020 roadmap passed.
Political tensions continued to run high as President Saïed conducted mass dismissal of judges, moved forward with constitutional reform project and pursued economic reform despite protests. President Saïed 1 June revoked 57 judges on various charges, including “disrupting investigations” into terrorism cases and “corruption”. Powerful Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) 3 June denounced justice ministry’s “terrorism campaign” against judiciary, and Tunisian Judges Association 6 June launched week-long strike, later extended it three times into July. Saïed 4 June started national dialogue on new constitution; UGTT and main political parties, including Islamist-inspired An-Nahda party, boycotted initiative. Different political forces 18-19 June organised protests against Saïed’s “coup” and constitutional referendum due 25 July, drawing thousands into streets of capital Tunis. Head of constitution drafting committee Sadok Belaïd 20 June submitted draft constitution to Saïed for approval; Saïed 30 June published draft constitution enshrining strong presidential system. Meanwhile, UGTT 16 June staged public sector nationwide strike, bringing country to a standstill, to protest Saïed’s economic policies as govt seeks to secure major loan from International Monetary Fund; 27 June called for new nationwide strike without giving date. Repression of dissent continued. Military court of Tunis 13 June issued arrest warrant against journalist Saleh Attia on charges of “harming the army” and “inciting Tunisians to violence” after he criticised govt in interview with Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera. Police 23 June arrested former PM Hamadi Jebali on money-laundering charges; judge 27 June ordered his release. Authorities around 27 June reportedly charged 33 people including head of An-Nahda and speaker of dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, with belonging to terrorist organisation in relation to 2013 killings of two prominent politicians.
Relations between Algeria and Spain continued to deteriorate over Western Sahara, while civil society groups mobilised against Moroccan repression of Sahrawi activists. Algeria 8 June announced suspension of 2002 friendship and cooperation treaty with Madrid, and next day froze bilateral trade operations, citing Spain’s endorsement of Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 10 June warned suspension of trade operations might violate EU-Algeria partnership agreement and lead to “retaliatory measures” (see Algeria). Meanwhile, group of NGOs and lawyers 9 June filed several complaints against Morocco with UN Committee Against Torture, denouncing mistreatment and alleged torture of four Sahrawi activists currently in prison in Morocco.