African Defence Review

WEEKINAFRICA

10 December 2018

The WEEKINAFRICA is a collection of key defence and security stories happening on the continent that the writers at African Defence review have picked up on. Things we can't write about at length, but which we felt you should know about.

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Kananga, Kasai central, DR Congo – Following the eight-day ultimatum given by the Sector Commander of Kasai Central to Kamuina Nsapu militia members to lay down weapons, a Joint Monusco and UN Agencies assessment mission, was deployed in Tshikula, the territory of Dibaya to mark MONUSCO’s presence in the area, to assess the security and humanitarian situation as part of the restoration of the state authority in territories controlled by the Kamuina Nsapu militia and to engage in talks for a peaceful disarmament process. Photo MONUSCO/Rosine M. Djoumessi

December 6, 2018 | Darren Olivier

Two senior Somali military commanders killed in bomb blast

Somalia

General Omar Aden Hassan Aka Dheere, the commander of Somali National Army’s 12-April Division and his deputy General Abdi Ali Jamame were killed along with several soldiers by a roadside bomb that hit their convoy near the village of Dhanaane, south of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. [source]

The commanders had been leading a military campaign to clear the route from Mogadishu to the port city of Marka, along a coastal road that has been under the control of Al Shabaab. Their deaths is a setback for the SNA, which will likely pause the offensive in order to regroup.

December 6, 2018 | Conway Waddington

Nigerian Army suffers serious setbacks in Borno State

Nigeria

On 18 November, Islamic State West Africa Province militants attacked and overran a Nigerian Army base at Metele town in Borno State. The militants reportedly seized control of the nearby town and captured arms and ammunition.[source]

The militants inflicted further casualties when they ambushed Nigerian Army troops who were reportedly attempting to retrieve the bodies of troops killed around Metele on the following day. [source]

Local media reported an estimated 100 deaths, while a figure of 118 fatalities was quoted in the Nigerian House of Representatives. The commanding officer of the base was reportedly among the casualties. As many as 150 soldier appear to still be unaccounted, the missing seemingly to be largely from the second force that was ambushed. [source]

11 days after the attack, a Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General, Sani Usman, claimed that 23 personnel had been killed, and 31 wounded had been evacuated to hospitals in Borno State. The spokesman downplayed the attack itself, but acknowledged a spate of attacks on Nigerian Army forces earlier in the month, specifically at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto, and Gajiram, resulting in 16 deaths, and 12 wounded. Interestingly, the spokesman claimed that the militants were increasingly using drones, presumably to conduct surveillance, as well as an apparent infusion of foreign fighters.  [source]

In the week after the attack, a video appeared on social media, purportedly filmed by survivors from the base, berating the leadership for failing to properly equip them. The veracity of the video is uncertain, but the sentiment of frustration appears to be growing among Nigerian troops and political figures.

President Buhari responded to the attack by calling an urgent meeting with his military chiefs of staff – and subsequently sent his Defence Minister to neighbouring Chad, to discuss bolstering the Multi-National Joint Task Force, to combat Boko Haram and ISWAP militants in the Lake Chad region. He later sent his Chief of Air Staff to join the Chief of Army Staff, stationed in the north-east of the country, to oversee the counterinsurgency campaign. [source]

The Nigerian Air Force subsequently claimed to have destroyed ‘camps’ used by the ISWAP militants in the region – and also to have destroyed armoured vehicles that were stolen from the base, in an unspecified neighboring country.  Various purported military or intelligence sources doubled down on claims that some of the ISWAP militants spoke Arabic, French, and other languages – and added that some of the attackers wore uniforms similar is other Multi-National Joint Task Force member countries – possibly as a ruse to gain access to the base. [source]

 

December 4, 2018 | John Stupart

MONUSCO is facing a resurgent ADF

South Africa

While an Ebola epidemic spreads throughout Eastern and Northern DRC, a regional militant group has used the travel ban to the area as a cover for what seems to be a scaling up in hostilities. Over the past several weeks reports have emerged of a string of ADF-orchestrated attacks on MONUSCO, FARDC, and Force Intervention Brigade units. South African, Malawian and Tanzanian troops suffered substantial casualties in a series of engagements with ADF forces in the eastern DRC region, in addition to damage incurred against South African aircraft from ground fire. While the average South African, Malawian or Tanzanian civilian may have no idea what their troops are doing in the DRC, they are quietly fighting an increasingly dangerous militant presence.

Recent Conflict Events

Below are the a selection of recent conflict events from the University of Sussex' ACLED database this week where over five fatalities were reported.

VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS

Mali

On December 6, Bambara militiamen killed six members of the Fulani community in Kelessere.

COUNTRY: Mali | FATALITIES: 6
LOCATION: Kelessere

VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS

Mali

On December 6, Bambara militiamen attacked the village of Mamba, killing seven members of the Fulani community.

COUNTRY: Mali | FATALITIES: 7
LOCATION: Mamba

VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS

Nigeria

06 December. Following a ruling by the court on a land dispute, an armed group from the Anfani community, with the assistance of members of the Emikpan community, attacked a group of Gaba community members who went to survey the land (no indication of where this is located/occurred). Eight people were killed. Security forces have been deployed to the area.

COUNTRY: Nigeria | FATALITIES: 8
LOCATION: Kutigi

REMOTE VIOLENCE

Somalia

06 December. A mine blast by AS killed two generals and five other soldiers on their way to Mogadishu at Dhanane. General Omar Adan Hassan, head of the army's 12th brigade, and the brigade's operational commander, General Abdi Ali Jamame, were among those killed in the blast.

COUNTRY: Somalia | FATALITIES: 7
LOCATION: Dhanaane

BATTLE - NO CHANGE OF TERRITORY

South Sudan

On December 4th, two Bul Nuer clans (the Jak, and Chien-Thii) clashed at Kech near Bentiu, resulting in 14 fatalities. The fight was allegedly sparked by the rape of a Jak clan woman (coded in a separate event). According to the source, nine members of the Chien-Thii clan (including one woman) were killed, and five members of the Jak clan lost their lives.

COUNTRY: South Sudan | FATALITIES: 14
LOCATION: Wath Wang Kech