Tracking Conflict Worldwide
Outlook for This Month April 2004
Conflict Risk Alerts
Trends for Last Month March 2004
Conflict in Focus
The latest edition of CrisisWatch, ICG's monthly bulletin on the world's conflicts, identifies deteriorating situations in fifteen countries in March 2004. In particular, Côte d'Ivoire saw its peace process in tatters, with the collapse of the transitional administration and the massacre of hundreds of opposition supporters by security forces and pro-government militias. Despite government claims of some 37 protesters killed, ICG has reliable reports saying forces loyal to the government massacred over 200 during a protest march and in the days immediately following -- many protesters were killed in police stations. There is a real risk of escalating violence and further massacres.
Elsewhere in March 2004, brutal fighting continued in Sudan's western province of Darfur, creating what the UN called "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world." Kosovo also took a very disturbing turn, with the most extensive ethnic violence seen there since 1999, resulting in 19 killed, 900 wounded and hundreds of Serb houses, churches and monasteries destroyed or damaged. Overt political violence returned to Uzbekistan as a number of attacks hit major cities at the end of the month, leaving at least 42 dead. The situation also deteriorated in Afghanistan, Chad, DR Congo, Indonesia, Israel/Occupied Territories, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia, Spain, Syria, and Venezuela.
There were only two situations showing improvement in March 2004. High-level visits marked Libya's encouraging return to the international fold, and Guinea-Bissau held successful parliamentary elections on 28 March 2004, following the September 2003 coup.
For the forthcoming month, CrisisWatch identifies Côte d'Ivoire, Israel/Occupied Territories, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela as Conflict Risk Alerts, or situations at particular risk of further conflict in April 2004. The only Conflict Resolution Opportunity identified for next month is Cyprus.
Fighting continued between government forces and Hutu FNL rebels south of capital Bujumbura - 30,000 civilians displaced and 25 rebels killed, according to government. But training commenced of new national army; former Hutu FDD rebels will have 40% of positions under peace deal signed in November. World Bank to provide $33 million to demobilise former Hutu rebels. Africa Union and UN Secretary General Annan called on Security Council to authorise early deployment of UN peacekeepers; Security Council considering proposal. In meantime, AU renewed mandate of its peacekeepers for additional month, to 2 May. Amnesty International called for the demobilisation and reintegration of child soldiers.
Army killed 43 Algerian Islamic militants in fighting near Niger border early March, according to government; 3 soldiers also killed.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In apparent coup attempt, gunmen attacked military bases and television stations in capital Kinshasa 28 March. Coup unsuccessful - government arrested 15, claiming were members of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s personal bodyguard, and placed security forces on high alert. UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) continued to expand operation - deploying 3,500 soldiers to eastern city of Bukavu 2 March to restore calm after recent outbreak of violence. MONUC seized weapons from commanders of former rebel group RCD-Goma in Bukavu.