5 current conflict zones in Africa
Armed conflict has always lurked around in post-independent Africa. While some African nations have been plagued with military coups, others have fallen prey to vicious displays of inequality.
A case in point is the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo. The following are the current conflict zones in Africa (2023);
1. The Democratic Republic of Congo (M23 rebellion)
- The gigantic central African country has been under the stranglehold of the M23 rebel group for a decade since 2012.
- Officially known as the March 23 movement, the organization has participated in armed conflict mainly in the Kivu region in Eastern DRC.
- The M23 is an insurgency that has threatened the government of the DRC citing sustained discrimination of ethnic Tutsis in the country.
- Made of former soldiers, they emerged from the National Congress for the Defence of the People, better known by its French acronym CNDP.
- This was a rebel group that fought the DRC government between 2006 and 2009.
- M23 staged an armed conflict between 2012 and 2013 which was quelled after a series of interventions, including the Nairobi Declaration.
- The group, however, reignited its activities in 2021 which signified its re-emergence after a long period of dormancy.
- The North Kivu armed insurgency has since drawn in an international military intervention dubbed East African Community Regional Force (EACRF).
- EACRF is an intervention by the East African Community led by the Kenya Defence Forces, which is considered a neutral force.
- Under the command of Kenyan soldier Major General Jeff Nyagah, the force is engaged in a disarmament campaign in a bid to pacify the region.
- Its focal point is Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Also read: Composition and Mandate of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)
2. The Central African Republic civil war
- The Central African Republic is one of the African nations that have paid a high price because of poor leadership.
- The country was at one time under the leadership of Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who is one of the worst dictators in African history.
- Currently, the nation is continuously spiralling into a gruelling civil war that is now more than a decade old.
- The armed conflict pits the Seleka, which is a loose coalition of rebel groups from the northern and eastern parts of the country.
- The main actors, however, are the Muslim majority of the north who are fighting for autonomy from the government at Bangui.
- Seleka kick-started a fresh round of conflict when it marched to and took over Bangui which is the country’s capital.
- The group decried the unavailability of development and government services in the north, as well as, corruption and impunity.
- This perilous move threw the country off its rails, plunging into full-blown conflict.
- Currently, a Russian-supported military counter-offensive by the government has seen the state regain control of the country’s main cities and roads.
3. Nigeria (Boko Haram)
- Nigeria has suffered decades of sustained domestic terrorism, particularly by Boko Haram.
- Boko Haram, officially known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, is an Islamist militant organization based in northeastern Nigeria.
- Founded in 2002 in Maiduguri, the group’s name translates to “Western education is forbidden.”
- The Nigerian government has used its armed forces to combat the insurgency, which has seen many people killed and displaced from their homes.
- In the recently concluded Nigerian general elections, internal security especially the Boko Haram threat was one of the main issues.
- Presidential candidates outlined their plans to deal with the menace, which include reforming the Nigerian military institution.
- In a rare bout of optimism, about 594 rehabilitated Boko Haram members have graduated from the Nigerian government’s Operation Safe Corridor’s De-radicalisation.
- This is a rehabilitation and reintegration facility in Gombe State, in the northeastern part of the country.
4. Cameroonian Civil War
- The Cameroonian Civil War is an ongoing armed conflict in the northwestern and southwestern parts of Cameroon.
- Pitting the separatist Ambazonian groups against the Cameroonian government, the conflict has been raging for close to 7 years.
- At the heart of the conflict is the longstanding marginalization of the English-speaking (Anglo-phone) Cameroonians who are the minority.
- The aggrieved Anglophone Cameroonian began by staging peaceful protests back in 2016 before the issue degenerated into an armed conflict.
- Separatist groups have coalesced under the Ambazonian identity, calling for the establishment of a new Ambazonian Republic.
- The militants decry the disregard and disposal of their English legal and educational systems in favour of French systems by the majority.
- English-speaking children have as a result been denied an education by the regime.
- Cameroon has been under the leadership of President Paul Biya since 1984, who has always deployed armed forces to quell the rebellion.
- The country’s dangerous dichotomy stems from its colonial past, having been subjected to both British and French rule.
- At independence, a referendum was held where the south and the north voted to either join the French-speaking Cameroon or English-speaking Nigeria.
- The aftermath of the painstaking referendum saw the restive side join the French-Cameroon with a constitution accommodating the bi-lingual nation.
- Discrimination, however, soon took over and the 20% minority Anglophone Cameroonians found themselves outside the mainstream of political, economic, and social setups.
- The ongoing conflict has left thousands dead and even bigger numbers displaced.
- Several militants are currently engaging the government. They include;
- Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF)
- Red Dragons
- Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (SOCADEF)
- Tigers of Ambazonia
- Ambazonia Restoration Forces
Also read: Top 10 Most Populous African Countries
5. Jihadist Insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
- Like in northern Nigeria, the armed conflict in northern Mozambique also takes a religious dimension.
- An equivalent of Boko Haram, the Ansar al-Sunna has been engaging government forces in the Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique.
- Its first strike against Mozambican security in 2019 launched a painful stint of attacks on locals.
- The Jihadist militant group is looking to establish an Islamic state in the region, its agenda inscribed in its name which means Supporters of the Tradition.
- Fierce exchanges between the Islamists and the government have caused an enormous humanitarian crisis in the region.
- Children are the most affected, according to a report by Plan International.
- Since the conflict began, at least 2,838 people have died including 1,406 civilians, although the true number is expected to be much higher, says the report.
- Key in this conflict is the gas fields off the coast of Mozambique and sea routes that facilitate arms and drug trafficking.