Africa at war

By Drum Digital
21 January 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a very violent end to 2013 and start to 2014, with raging conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic, it all seems like Africa is at war.

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a very violent end to 2013 and start to 2014, with raging conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic, as well as continued violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and attacks in Somalia and Kenya.

Central African Republic

There has been no respite in violence in the beleaguered country in the last three weeks. If anything, reports from the capital Bangui and outlying areas indicate a state that is teetering on the brink of collapse. One thousand six hundred French troops and 4,000 Africans have been deployed as peacekeepers to the country without much success.

More than 1,000 people are said to have been killed in the Central African Republic since December. According to Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people in Bangui have been displaced (out of a total population of 600,000). And the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that nearly a million people, a fifth of the population, has been displaced throughout the country.

A flare-up in violence between Muslim fighters and Christian militias has displaced more than 200,000 people in the past few weeks alone, leaving a total of 935,000 homeless.

RELATED LINKS

- BBC

South Sudan

As fighting continued to rage in South Sudan this week, two pieces of news encapsulated the young country's descent into the abyss.

About 200 people, mainly women and children fleeing the fighting in the oil-producing Upper Nile, drowned when the boat on which they were crossing the Nile sank. On the same day, it emerged that talks between the warring sides in neighbouring Ethiopia had been shifted to a nightclub in Addis Ababa after they overran their booking at a hotel.

The two-and-a-half-year-old ­country is in a state of civil war after a dispute between Salva Kiir, the president, and Riek Machar, the sacked vice-president, drove the country's patchwork military into opposing factions.

Although the political divisions at elite level remain complex, on the ground this has translated into ethnically targeted killings, often pitting the largest ethnic group, the Dinka, from which Kiir hails, against the Nuer people of his rival, Machar.

More than 400 000 people in a country of six million have been driven from their homes and 63 000 civilians are hiding at a handful of United Nations peacekeeping bases. The death toll is in excess of 10 000.

- SAPA/AFP

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo forces attacked Ugandan Islamist rebels in the lawless east, launching a UN-backed offensive to clear insurgents from the mineral-rich zone.

ADF-Nalu rebels have been based in Congo for years and are seen as a major obstacle to peace.

Another rebel movement, M23, that had operated to the south of Beni was defeated late last year, highlighting how Kinshasa and UN forces have begun to take the fight to gunmen that have plagued eastern Congo for nearly two decades.

ADF-Nalu has been blamed for a spate of recent attacks and kidnappings around Beni, including the deaths of some 40 civilians in an attack on Christmas Day.

The rebel group is believed to number up to 1 400 fighters and has abducted about 300 Congolese civilians over the past year, according to a UN report.

- Reuters

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