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Armed Conflict and Population Displacement

Armed Conflict and Population Displacement

Sub-Saharan Africa experienced ongoing and new conflict throughout 2018 and additionally, suffered droughts, floods and storms that forced many people to evade their homes. Around 7.4 million new displacements related to conflict and violence and about 6 million related to disasters were recorded and accounting for 36 per cent of all displacements worldwide.

Ethiopia, DRC, Nigeria, Somalia and CAR were the countries most affected. Around 16.5 million people were living in internal displacement in Sub-Saharan Africa as a results of conflict as of the top of the year. This figure once more shows that protracted displacement may be a significant issue for several countries.

Against a backdrop of important and lots of positive political changes, 2.9 million new displacements related to conflict were recorded in Ethiopia, the very best figure within the world and 4 times as many as in 2017.

Old conflicts became more entrenched and new conflicts escalated along various state borders, prompting the government to determine a replacement Ministry of Peace in response to the increasing violence. Disasters also triggered 296,000 new displacements, many of them related to flooding within the Somali region.

Around 1.8 million new displacements related to conflict were recorded in DRC, primarily in North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and Kasai Central provinces, where conflict and insecurity continued. The province of Ituri had been embroiled in conflict between 1999 and 2007 and had since been relatively peaceful, but intercommunal violence reignited in December 2017, resulting in 60 deaths and quite 576,000 new displacements.

What rekindled the conflict is unclear, but a national political crisis, the disintegration of state authority and therefore the increasing activity of politically-motivated militias may all are contributing factors. The western province of Mai-Ndombe also experienced an epidemic of intercommunal violence between 16 and 18 December 2018, when a minimum of 535 people were killed during a massacre and around 12,000 people displaced from the town of Yumbi.

About three million people were thought to be living in internal displacement as of the top of 2018 in DRC, a highly conservative figure that doesn’t capture the entire country. There are hopes that presidential elections that happened on 30 December after a two-year delay will help to stabilise the political situation. 578,000 new displacements related to conflict and violence were recorded in Somalia, the very best figure during a decade and therefore the results of three main factors. Evictions from urban centres, mainly of IDPs, accounted for about 44 per cent of the figure.

Driven by a scarcity of adequate housing and informal tenure agreements in increasingly crowded areas, the amount of evictions reached a record high. Tensions between Somaliland and Puntland over the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag also flared, and Al Shabaab fighters clashed with government and African Union troops, particularly within the southern regions of Middle and Lower Shabelle.

Conflict and violence within the north-eastern and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria triggered 541,000 new displacements in 2018, and floods inundated 80 per cent of the country, triggering 600,000. Clashes between northern herders and southern farmers competing for scarce resources have taken place in Middle Belt since 2014, but the violence escalated significantly last year, triggering 200,000 new displacements.

Whole villages and herder settlements were burnt down and many people were killed, making the conflict more deadly than the Boko Haram insurgency. Fighting between the government and armed opposition groups within the north-east of the country entered its tenth year, triggering 341,000 new displacements.

Although the government insists that Boko Haram is near defeat and has been promoting returns to some parts of the north-east, there has been continued insecurity and total displacement of citizens. A minimum of 311,000 IDPs were recorded as having returned in 2018, along side about 30,000 Nigerian refugees coming back from Cameroon.

Supported data on housing conditions of returnees shows however that a minimum of 86,000 people returned to partially damaged housing or makeshift shelters. Around two million people were thought to be living in displacement as a results of conflict as of the top the year. Other countries within the Lake Chad Basin also continued to be suffering from the Boko Haram insurgency, with quite 52,000 new displacements recorded in Niger and 22,000 in Cameroon.

The impact of Boko Haram in Cameroon was overshadowed by 437,000 new displacements within the Northwest and Southwest regions, where tensions over government moves to impose French on the anglophone population that had been simmering since 2016 erupted into armed conflict between separatists and therefore the military.

Read also: Terrorism in Nigeria: The reign of Boko Haram

Continued fighting between armed groups in CAR triggered 510,000 new displacements in 2018, leaving around 641,000 people living in internal displacement as of the top of the year. Clashes in Ouham Pende, Ouaka and Haut-Kotto prefectures triggered the bulk of the displacement, including within the urban centres of Bambari and Bria. The government signed a peace affect 14 armed factions in February 2019, raising hopes that levels of violence and displacement would decrease within the future.

In South Sudan, around 321,000 new displacements related to conflict were recorded during the year, leaving almost 1.9 million people living in internal displacement as of December. The 2 main parties to the conflict signed a peace deal in September 2018, but there was no immediate reduction in violence. Clashes in neighbouring Sudan between the government and therefore the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) triggered 41,000 new displacements within the Jebel Marra mountains at the intersection between South, North and Central Darfur.

Torrential rains and landslides also triggered 420 new displacements within the same area in early September. SLM/A declared a unilateral three-month ceasefire an equivalent month to permit humanitarian access to those affected. Around 5,600 returns to the five states that structure the Darfur region were recorded in 2018, but a scarcity of data about people’s circumstances and reports of returnees being attacked raised serious questions on their sustainability.

The Sudanese government is additionally working with the international community to convert variety of displacement camps into residential areas, resulting in IDPs’ de facto local integration –a positive move though the result remains to be seen.

Around 126,000 new displacements related to conflict and violence were recorded in Mali, 42,000 in Burkina Faso , 5,000 in Ghana, 3,500 in Benin and three ,000 in Sierra Leone , between them accounting for a big increase within the overall figure for West Africa compared to 2017. Armed Islamist groups have increased their presence in Burkina Faso since 2016, prompting counterterrorism operations in 2017 and 2018 that led to numerous allegations of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and therefore the abuse of suspects in custody.

Small to medium-scale disasters affected many countries within the region in 2018, events that tend to not receive enough attention or resources despite their severe impacts on people and native economies. Around 336,000 new displacements were recorded in Kenya as heavy rains led to flooding altogether of the country’s 47 counties.

Thousands of hectares of farmland were inundated and livestock killed, threatening the livelihoods of pastoralists and farmers alike. A minimum of six dams burst, triggering around 12,000 new displacements. Flooding also led to 158,000 new displacements in Uganda, 121,000 in Sudan, 56,000 in Ghana and 15,000 in Liberia.

These significant levels of displacement when looked at ordinarily can be easily owed to armed conflict, but the cogent reason for the displacement that follows suit from this conflict is the effect that it has on the environment. The environment is the victim first even before the people in most instances. For example around 547,000 new displacements related to conflict were recorded in Somalia.

Almost half the figure, or 249,000 moved from rural areas in search of water and livelihood opportunities. Also, Inter-communal clashes in Mali between Fulani herders and Dogon and Bambara farmers in recent years, and intra-community violence among the Fulani and attacks by extremist groups have led to many villages being looted and torched, making returns tougher.

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