Country level

CM maps May 2020

Our country-month (cm) forecasts are presented in the maps above. Our models yield results in line with mainstream studies of conflict at the country level. For instance, we forecast a higher risk of state-based conflict in countries with large populations, in non-democracies and countries with recent regime change, with low or negative growth rates, and with low education levels or other indicators of low socio-economic development.

We continue to forecast a high probability of state-based conflict in countries that have a recent history of conflict or protest events. In Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Somalia, the risk of at least one state-based conflict event is high and over 50%.

Compared to last month's forecast at s=3, a number of countries have seen a particular elevation of the risk of state-based violence. For Uganda, the risk at s=3 has increased by over 10 percentage points since last month's forecasts. The increase postdates an attack on an army post close to the north-western border to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which killed over 30 people in early March.

The second-largest risk increase concerns Ethiopia, which over the past few months has suffered state-based violence in the regional states of Oromia and Amhara. Two dozen unarmed civilians -- most of them suspected of supporting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) -- have been shot and killed by Ethiopian army soldiers during the first quarter of the year in Oromia. In Amhara state, another four were killed in March due to a grenade detonation at a police roadblock.

The third-largest increase is found in Mozambique, as jihadist insurgents continue to operate in the Cabo Delgado province.

Some notable decreases also ought to be highlighted. Benin, Burundi, South Sudan and Algeria all demonstrate a decreased risk of 5 or more percentage points since last month's forecasts, as the former three lack any recorded fatalities from state-based violence in the UCDP candidate event data set for March, and the latter had only one reported death. The predicted probabilities of state-based violence at s=3 consequently range from approximately 25% (Benin) to just shy of 40% (South Sudan).

For non-state violence, the country-level risks continue to be less pronounced across the African continent compared to the risks of state-based and one-sided violence. For non-state conflict, South Sudan is attributed with the second-largest risk increase -- nearly 10 percentage points -- causing the predicted risk to surpass 50%. The country suffered a number of conflict events in March 2020 that took the lives of 140 people due to intra- and intercommunal clashes in Lakes, Unity, Warap and East Equatoria state. The greatest increase is however found in Sudan, where the predicted risk of non-state conflict now exceeds 55%. As in South Sudan, the heightened risk is predominantly attributed to intercommunal violence in March 2020, but is further underpinned by the January clashes between the ethnic Dinka and nomadic Misseriya herders in the disputed Abyei region and tribal clashes in the Red Sea state that same month.

Also South Africa, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic (CAR) are subject to a pronounced increase in the conflict forecasts for July 2020. In South Africa, two fatal incidents of gang violence were reported in the North-West province in February and March 2020. In Ethiopia, several incidents of ethnic violence were observed in the northern and central states over February and March 2020 (the most fatal in March). In CAR, ultimately, violent clashes between armed groups and milia factions continue to contribute to the risk profile, causing the death of more than 40 people in March 2020.

Nigeria remains at highest risk of non-state violence, now 60%, followed by Sudan, Ethiopia, DRC and Somalia, albeit the risk in Somalia has decreased by several percentage points since last month. Other notable decreases concern Chad and Libya (now at less than 30% risk at s=3), and most prominently Burkina Faso. The latter displays a risk decline of nearly early 10 percentage points since last month's forecasts, resulting in a conflict risk of 40% at s=3.

With a few exceptions, the risk distribution for one-sided violence in July 2020 is relatively similar to last month's forecasts. DRC and Nigeria remain at over 60% risk at s=3, followed by Somalia (no change) and Ethiopia. The latter displays an increased risk by nearly 10 percentage points compared to last month's forecasts. The uptick is likely due to a state police attack against ethnic Oromo people in the Afar region mid-March, which allegedly left ten dead and gave rise to violent clashes between the Oromo and Afar communities. Anti-government protests also left 6 dead in the SNNP state in February.

Compared to last month's forecasts, the risks of one-sided violence at s=3 increased most for Rwanda (now surpassing 30%), where two civilians were shot dead late March for violating lockdown orders imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Another similar incident leading to the death of one person was reported in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 March. The South African forecasts were furthermore influenced by a shooting in Khayelitsha township, Cape Town, that killed six people earlier the same month.

Finally, the most notable risk reductions for one-sided violence (in order of significance) are found in Sudan, Zimbabwe and South Sudan.

For more information see, see the monthly forecasts report for May 2020

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Please cite:  Hegre, Håvard, Marie Allansson, Matthias Basedau, Michael Colaresi, Mihai Croicu, Hanne Fjelde, Frederick Hoyles, Lisa Hultman, Stina Högbladh, Naima Mouhleb, Sayeed Auwn Muhammad, Desiree Nilsson, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Gudlaug Olafsdottir, Kristina Petrova, David Randahl, Espen Geelmuyden Rød, Nina von Uexkull, Jonas Vestby (2019) ‘ViEWS: A political violence early-warning system’, Journal of Peace Research, 56(2), pp. 155–174. doi: 10.1177/0022343319823860.