Africa
Togo

Togo extends regional state of emergency

Togo’s National Assembly voted¬†to extend a “state of security emergency” in the northern Savanes region of the country for another year. The measure follows a recent increase in incursions by militant groups along Togo’s northern border. The measure is a further extension of President Faure Gnassingb√©’s initial state of emergency decreed in June 2022. The decree is intended to give security forces more “flexibility” in order to combat attacks by militants in the zone.¬†Areas across the border in Burkina Faso are now said to be effectively controlled by jihadist groups.¬†(Map: Togo Department of Health)

Africa
ivory coast

French forces out of Burkina Faso, into Ivory Coast

France has officially¬†ended its operations¬†in Burkina Faso a month after the ruling junta there terminated a military accord that allowed the former colonial power to fight jihadists. French forces remain in the greater region, however. The move came as French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu¬†visited C√īte d’Ivoire, pledging to boost military support as jihadist attacks hit coastal West African states. (Map:¬†Perry-Casta√Īeda Library Map Collection)

Africa
Somalia

Somalia: US raids on ISIS stronghold

A US special forces raid in Somalia ordered by President Joe Biden killed a key regional ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, the Pentagon said in a statement. Sudani apparently died in a gun-battle after US troops descended on a cave complex in a mountainous area of northern Somalia. The statement did not specify the location of the raid, but the announcement followed reports in Somali media describing a US drone strike on a stronghold of the self-declared Islamic State-Somalia in the Cal Miskaad mountains of the autonomous northern region of Puntland. The raid came as the US military has been stepping up attacks on the Qaeda-aligned Shabaab rebels in central Somalia, in conjunction with Somali government and African Union forces. (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Africa
DRC

Massacres mount in eastern DRC

Fighters from the ISIS-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the¬†CODECO¬†ethnic miitia¬†have¬†each carried out multiple massacres of villagers in Ituri and North Kivu provinces¬†of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the past weeks. The M23 rebel group, said to be backed by Rwanda, has meanwhile captured new territory in North Kivu, further closing the ring around¬†Goma, the largest city in the DRC’s east. Regional tensions rose after Rwanda fired on a Congolese fighter jet, claiming it had breached its airspace. Kinshasa denied the accusation and called the shooting “an act of war.” (Map: CIA)

Africa
Togo

Qaeda franchise claims deadly assault in Togo

The Group for Support of Islam & Muslims (JNIM by its Arabic rendering), al-Qaeda’s West African franchise, claimed credit for an assault on Togolese forces that left at least 17 soldiers dead near the border¬†with Burkina Faso. Togolese media¬†reported that fighters in large columns of vehicles mounted with heavy machine-guns raided a military outpost at Tiwoli village, in northern¬†Savanes region. This is the second such claim of responsibility for an attack within Togo by JNIM in the last two weeks, and the third this year. The attacks are raising¬†fears of insurgency spreading from conflict-torn Burkina Faso into West Africa’s¬†littoral states. (Map: Togo Department of Health)

Africa
west africa

West Africa jihadist insurgency reaches Togo

At least eight Togolese soldiers were killed in an assault on a military base in the north of the West African country‚ÄĒmarking the first fatal attack in Togo by the jihadist rebel militias waging an insurgency across the wider region. Some 60 gunmen on motorcycles attacked the base at Kpinkankandi, near the border with Burkina Faso. According to locals, the battle over the base raged most of the night before the assailants retreated. No group has claimed responsibility for the raid, but suspicion has fallen on the Group for Support of Islam & Muslims (JNIM), a Qaeda-aligned faction active in Burkina Faso. (Map: World Sites Atlas)

Africa
Somalia

Podcast: Somalia in the Great Game

In Episode 122 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the ongoing conflict in Somalia in light of both climate change and Great Power politics. Despite a pseudo-withdrawal of US forces, the Pentagon continues drone strikes against the Shaabab insurgents‚ÄĒas the Horn of Africa faces it worst drought in a generation, with millions on the brink of extreme hunger and possible starvation. A paradox of the situation is that “government-controlled” Somalia (the southern third of the country) is not controlled by any government, but wracked by insurgency. In contrast, the unrecognized de facto independent state of Somaliland in the north is a bastion of comparative stability and even social progress. Reports of Russian designs on Somaliland as a potential site for a naval base threaten to draw it into the imperial contest for control of the strategic Horn. Progressives in the West can demand international recognition for an independent and non-aligned Somaliland. We can also loan solidarity to the Sufi resistance now fighting both the Shaabab and the “recognized” Mogadishu quasi-government. Most importantly, we can support the secular and pro-democratic voices of civil society that are standing up for human rights and basic freedoms at great risk to themselves, and in spite fo everything. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Africa
congo

Confused DRC peace dialogue in Kenya

The first round of talks between armed groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo concluded¬†in Nairobi. The Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wasn’t invited, however, while the Ituri-based CODECO was approached but didn’t attend. M23 representatives were meanwhile ordered out after their forces resumed clashes with the DRC military. The talks followed an East African Community summit in which heads of state agreed to set up a regional military force to fight rebels unwilling to lay down their arms. A UN peacekeeping mission operates in the DRC but is making drawdown plans. The Ugandan army is also intervening in the country, while martial law has been declared in the volatile eastern provinces for a year. Rebel attacks and abuses by soldiers continue, and nearly three million people were displaced last year alone.¬†(Image: Pixabay)

Africa
niger

French forces out of Mali, into Niger

Lawmakers in Niger have approved a bill that clears the way for more foreign troops to be deployed in the country, which is fighting several jihadist insurgencies. The move comes as French and European forces withdraw from neighboring Mali, having fallen out with the ruling junta there. Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum had already announced plans in February to absorb some of the departing soldiers. But passing the bill through parliament formalizes the decision, amid rising anti-French sentiment in the country and the wider region.¬†(Map: PCL)

Africa
EUTM

EU ends Mali training as junta turns to Russia

The European Union announced¬†that it is halting its military training mission in Mali, citing the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who are said to have committed a slew of abuses in recent weeks alongside the Malian armed forces. The training mission, known as EUTM Mali, was launched in 2013 to help restore state authority after much of the country’s north¬†had been captured by jihadist and separatist rebels. Thousands of Malian troops benefited from courses, although the soldiers were not vetted for involvement in rights abuses before their training, or monitored for violations after. The EU was therefore accused of supporting an army that has killed more civilians than jihadists in some years. The EUTM suspension comes two months after France announced the withdrawal of its counter-jihadist forces in Mali following its feud with the country’s ruling junta. Humanitarian needs are deepening amid the diplomatic and security shifts, while rights abuses have exploded since Wagner Group’s arrival. (Photo of Malian troops with EU advisors via EUTM Mali)

Africa
mali-hunger-displacement

Mali: crisis deepens as foreign forces withdraw

France and allied European countries are withdrawing their military forces from Mali after diplomatic relations broke down with the ruling junta that came to power in last year’s coup d’etat. The junta¬†has meanwhile reportedly welcomed in hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group. The diplomatic crisis has overshadowed a worsening humanitarian emergency that has seen severe hunger hit the highest level since 2013, when the seizure of large parts of the country by jihadist rebels prompted the French intervention. Over 350,000 people have now fled violence linked to jihadist groups aligned to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State‚ÄĒa nearly 70% increase from early 2020.¬†(Photo of Mali¬†displaced¬†persons camp:¬†The New Humanitarian)

Africa
uganda

Uganda-DRC joint offensive against ISIS franchise

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are continuing to pursue a joint military offensive launched late last month against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group that is now said to be integrated into the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP). The ironically named ADF has carried out a string of recent attacks in Uganda, and has for years been terrorizing the DRC’s North Kivu province. The Ugandan and DRC militaries say they have captured some 35 fighters and “neutralized” four rebel camps. The campaign has included air raids and artillery strikes. (Photo via Africa Institute for Security Studies)