Conflicts, crises, flashpoints in Africa

2012-07-12 16:01

ADDIS ABABA, July 12, 2012 (AFP) -List of the main conflicts, crises and flashpoints in Africa ahead of the African Union's two-day summit opening Sunday in Addis Ababa.

MALI

A March 22 coup in Mali against President Amadou Toumani Toure eased the way for Tuareg separatist rebels to seize a vast area in the north that they consider their homeland.

However, the previously unknown Ansar Dine group seized the upper hand while fighting on their flanks. Openly allied with the north African group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine has since pushed the Tuareg rebels from positions of power.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The mutineer M23 movement -- a group of former Tutsi rebels who had been integrated in the regular army in 2009 -- has been battling Democratic Republic of Congo troops since May.

In recent days, the rebels have conquered several towns in the troubled Nord Kivu province.

The fighting has driven tens of thousands over the nearby borders with Uganda and Rwanda. A UN report accuses Rwanda of actively backing the M23 movement.

NIGERIA

Nigeria, which has more than 160 million inhabitants split between Muslims who are in a majority in the north and Christians who are more numerous in the south, has been hit over the past few months by deadly attacks claimed by Islamist group Boko Haram.

The group is estimated to have killed more than 1,000 people since mid-2009 in attacks on Christian and government sites.

GUINEA BISSAU

The tiny West Africa country, whose history has been dotted by coups and political violence, was rocked by a new putsch on April 12. Interim authorities have been put in place in the framework of a transition process which will be overseen by a west African force, whose deployment ended in late May.

SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

A 22-year civil war ended in a 2005 peace deal which paved the way for South Sudan's independence on July 9, 2011 following a near-unanimous vote for separation in a referendum.

But unresolved issues led to escalating tension and a March-April border conflict, with ongoing African Union-led talks to settle a raft of disputes.

SOMALIA

Somalia has been without an effective government and in a state of civil war since 1991. Clans, militia armies, warlords, Islamist groups and pirates have been fighting for swathes of the territory.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab control large parts of the Horn of African country's south, but are facing growing pressure from some 17,000 African Union troops, Ethiopian soldiers and Somali government forces.

KENYA

Kenya has suffered a spate of gun, grenade and bomb attacks, especially in the north and the east, since sending troops into southern Somalia last October to target Shebab insurgents. Kenya's troops are now part of the AU force.

Finally, the African Union is setting up a regional force, grouping 5,000 Ugandan, DR Congolese, Central African and South Sudanese troops, hunting down the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels led by international fugitive Joseph Kony.

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