Africa: Week in Brief [May 19-26, 2014]
ISLAMIC INSURGENCY, NIGERIA | Context
Boko Haram gunmen raided the villages of Kamuya and Borno in northeast Nigeria and killed 24 people. Witnesses said dozens of motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed the Sunday market, opening fire on residents. Thursday, the group was suspected another series of attacks which killed 28 people. The events occurred in Borno state, the epicenter of Boko Haram’s activity, and Chibok, where the 200 school girls were abducted last month. Witnesses saw gunmen burning houses and firing into fleeing residents. Meanwhile, neighboring nations of Chad and Cameroon have declared war on the Boko Haram group and deployed thousands of soldiers to border areas where the extremists are active. The United Nations also officially designated Boko-Haram a al-Qaeda linked organization, thus imposing sanctions designed to cut off the group’s overseas funding.
RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC | Context
Unprecedented levels of violence continue in the Central African Republic between Muslim and Christian militias, along with peace keepers struggling to restore order. The Muslim Seleka militia reorganized early last week after continued efforts by peacekeepers to disarm them. Three civilians were killed mid-week when hundreds of Seleka rebels clashed with French forces, who returned fire. French forces also engaged in a gun fight Saturday with the Seleka in the town of Bambari, destroying a rebel vehicle. Meanwhile, three Muslim youths were killed and mutilated by a Christian militia in Central African Republic yesterday while on their way to play in a reconciliation soccer game on Sunday, which was set up between Muslim and Christian youths. Refugees continue to flood into neighboring countries, which have inadequate facilities to sustain them. 29 children were said to have died of starvation while crossing in to Cameroon.
ETHNIC CONFLICT, SOUTH SUDAN | Context
Civil war in South Sudan has displaced thousands of farmers, and is leading to one of the worst famines in the history of the region. There are reports of fresh fighting erupting in the upper Nile State region of South Sudan despite a peace deal agreed upon by both sides earlier this month. The fragile peace has been violated several time since its signing, bringing concern to donor countries which have pledged millions to address the humanitarian crisis in the country.
ETHNIC CONFLICT, SUDAN (DARFUR) | Context
At least 29 tribesmen were killed and 23 others injured when clashes erupted on Friday between the two tribes. The fighting continued into the evening and regional authorities deployed the military in an effort to restore order. However, a Rwandan peacekeeper has been killed and three others wounded the next day during a gun battle after trying to mediate a tribal disputein Kebkabiya, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) west the North Darfur state capital.
The dispute was between non-Arab Fur people from one village and an Arab militia from another community. The African Union-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas says that the current cycle of violence in Darfur bears ‘similarities’ to conflict dynamics in 2003, when the ten-year civil war first started.
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