Across Africa in January 2018, political violence and protest levels rebounded from the lull in December 2017. This regional pattern is predominantly driven by a 38.5% increase in protest levels, where regional coordination between movements is provoking tougher government responses in anti-TPLF protests in Ethiopia, as well as in Tunisia and South Africa. Political violence-related fatalities remain at their lowest level in over a year, continuing to decrease from a high of 2,863 in May 2017 to 1,751 in January 2018. An Islamic State attack on a Sufi mosque accounted for over 300 fatalities in November 2017, while a massive military campaign by Nigerian state forces to clear Boko Haram elements from Borno State led to at least 111 deaths in early January. Intra-clan militia violence in Sanaag, Somalia and al-Shabaab attacks against domestic and AMISOM forces led to 227 fatalities.

Battles decreased overall but non-state activity increased as ethnic and communal militia groups escalated civilian-targeted attacks (see Figure 1). In Nigeria, Fulani herders targeted Bachama and Irigwe populations in Benue, Taraba and Plateau State. Elsewhere, several tit-for-tat clashes between non-state groups punctuated Central African Republic, where MPC: Patriotic Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic and RJ: Revolution and Justice clashed in Ouham Pende (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: Political Violence by Actor Dyad, Africa, October 2017 – January 2018

Increased ADF activity in Nord-Kivu and Mayi Mayi militia (Yakutumba) activity in Sud-Kivu and Katanga were the dominant driver of violence in Democratic Republic of Congo. Though less violent than Nigeria, Somalia and the Central African Republic, clashes between Nduma NDC-R: Renewal and the newly emergent splinter group NDC-M: Mandaima in Walikale territory highlights the large number of active armed groups destabilising the DR-Congo.

Figure 2: Number of Events by Non-state Armed Groups in Central African Republic, 2018

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Regional Overview – Africa
5 February 2018
James Moody
James Moody
Africa Research Manager
James Moody is Africa Research Manager with ACLED. In this role he oversees the coding of political violence and protest across all countries in Africa. He is also a Geography PhD Candidate at the University of Sussex. His research interests include protest movements across North and sub-Saharan Africa and the dynamics of civil war violence. His own research explores the rising wave of protest in the post-Arab uprising period, focusing on local level governance, forms of contention, and protest geography, diffusion, and escalation across Africa. James has country-specific knowledge on Egypt and Libya. He is based in Brighton, United Kingdom.
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