The security and sovereignty of Africa’s borders are coming under growing threat from intra-regional militant groups that occupy vast swathes of territory across the Maghreb, Sahel, and West African regions, as well as in the Horn and Great Lakes Region. EXX Africa’s third instalment of its Threats to Borders analysis series explores militants as a threat actor across the continent.
While East African states face major security challenges from several civil wars, sporadic political upheavals, and the persistent threat of violent extremism, regional states remain prime destinations for tourism and business travel. We assess the risk posed by criminal activity to foreign nationals visiting and living in the region’s urban centres and tourism destinations.
Over the past year, the rapid encroachment of Sahel-based Islamist militant groups on the borders of West African coastal states has prompted widespread concern that previously unaffected locales are now under threat. Based on the geographic dispersal of regional militant actors and their current capabilities and intent, EXX Africa assesses the possible scenarios and likely locations for a terrorist attack in these coastal hubs.
Nationalist groups have failed to seize control of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, but their killing of the military chief of staff has triggered shockwaves through the country’s security forces. Ethnic and political retaliatory violence should be expected in the short term, while the government’s privatisation and liberalisation reforms are likely to face delays and next year’s slated elections are now even more likely to be postponed.
A former ethnic Arab militia accused of war crimes in Darfur and now integrated into the Sudanese security forces and armed with new weapons from the Gulf has seized control of the capital Khartoum in recent weeks. These hard-line militia forces are increasingly likely to clash with the military, which is seeking to create an Egypt-style post-coup political order and to repair Sudan’s international reputation.
Over two months after eastern forces launched an offensive on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the conflict shows no signs of abating. With international support to the opposing factions both limiting the desire for negotiation as well as constraining any means of applying external leverage, we assess the political and security outlook and the potential impact of the current situation on Libya’s commercial operating environment.
As Somalia heads to the polls in 2020, security and stability are likely to be hampered by the seemingly intractable al-Shabaab insurgency, the rise in prominence of Islamic State, the looming possibility of an AMISOM withdrawal, and continued tense political relations within and outside the country.
In his second term, President Muhammadu Buhari will again oversee expansive debt-fuelled spending to develop Nigeria’s infrastructure, while seeking a dilution of the government’s stake in the oil sector. He may even consider joining Africa’s free trade pact that came into force in May. However, any firm decisions will take many months before being confirmed, starting with the appointment of a new cabinet and perhaps a reshuffle of the security forces command.
As negotiations on the political transition continue to falter, opposition forces will renew its civil disobedience campaign, including a general strike and mass demonstrations. Hard-line paramilitary forces that control the post-coup junta are likely to respond with heavy-handed force at home, while seeking financial lifelines and diplomatic cover from regional allies. The prospect of violence in Khartoum and other cities will rise in coming weeks.
As a military contest over the capital, Tripoli, devolves into a stalemate, the security situation across Libya shows signs of deterioration as the country’s rival political administrations become increasingly estranged. With growing international involvement in the conflict, EXX Africa assesses the political and security outlook in Libya and the attendant risks to commercial operations.
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- ZAMBIA: SMEAR CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO DISTRACT FROM WEAKENING DEBT TRANSPARENCY
- SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEN EAST AFRICAN CITIES AT RISK OF CRIME AGAINST EXPATS