- Rising tensions in these countries place them at high risk
- Civil wars are on the rise
- Terrorist groups continue to unleash violence on villages and cities
Mass murders are a painful part of Africa’s history. Under colonial powers, millions of civilians have lost their lives, and unfortunately, nothing has changed. At any moment, a massacre can erupt in any region across the continent. Political tensions are high, coups are rampant, and civil wars are ongoing. The Early Warning Project released an index of countries with high chances of new mass killings occurring in the new year. Here are the five top African countries that made the list and why.
Ranking first in Africa and fourth globally, it is estimated that Chad has a 9,2% or 1 in 11 chance of mass killings occurring in 2023. Chad’s current political instability issues because of the ongoing aftereffects of the 2021 coup have increased the probability. Early Warning Project claims the high chance of violence is due to decreased freedom of movement for men, human rights abuses against protesters and a ban on demonstrations, and rising tensions between farmers and herders.
Ethiopia takes the second spot on the list and fifth worldwide with an 8.7% or 1 in 12 chance of mass killings this year. The main factor in this estimate is the Tigray War which began in November 2020 and has lasted two years. The war is considered one of the deadliest in the 21st century, with estimated deaths of over half a million deaths of non-combatants. A further estimated 465,000 people have died because of man-made famine in Tigray, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced from their homes since the genesis of the conflict.
Nigeria ranks third in Africa and sixth globally as there is a 7.9% or 1 in 13 chance of a new massacre. Reasons for this include humanitarian and political crises, such as an increased number of attacks against civilians by the terrorist group Boko Haram and the militant group and administrative division of the Islamic State, The Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). Additionally, Nigeria saw a spike in sporadic violence at polling stations. a group of masked men opened fire on voters waiting in lines.
Sudan ranks ninth globally with a 7.3% or 1 in 14 chance of a new mass killing. One of Sudan’s most recent massacres is the Khartoum massacre. On June 3, 2019, armed forces of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, headed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), released live ammunition and teargas to disperse a sit-in by protestors in Khartoum, killing more than 100 people. It is estimated that hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured and arrested. In addition, many families were terrorised in their home estates across the country, and the RSF raped more than 70 women and men. This month, fighting erupted once more in Khartoum and other cities as powerful rival military factions battle for control, increasing the risk of a nationwide civil war. At least 185 people have already been killed with thousands more injured.
There is a 6.9% 1 in 15 chance of a massacre occurring in Somalia this year. Somalia has been in a civil war since the 1980s, with approximately 1 million people dead since 1991. The civil war, which began in late January 2009 with the conflict mainly between the Federal Government of Somalia forces assisted by African Union peacekeeping troops and al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab militants, is still ongoing. On January 16, 2023, the Somali army captured Harardhere (a historic town in the Mudug province) and Galcad from al-Shabaab.