Atrocious and forgotten

Publish date 24-01-2023

by Paolo Lambruschi

At the moment there are at least 12 ongoing conflicts that cause the highest number of victims on the planet and the greatest internal population movements (displaced persons) and beyond the borders (refugees) on the continent, now a unicum with Europe . If only because of the waves of migrants causing these wars, we should follow them and ask the Italian media to keep us informed. They are wars for resources and independence or with religious backgrounds supported by foreign powers that are fought here by proxy.

We are talking about conflicts such as the one in Tigray, in northern Ethiopia (500,000 dead in two years, among victims of the clashes and of the famine caused by the blockade of aid and the burning of cultivated fields) which cannot be defined as low intensity due to the number of casualties and the violence of the fighting. And since they are ignored by the Italian media, which prefer to devote pages to gossip or the death of the almost centenary Queen Elizabeth rather than to the hundreds of thousands of victims of these forgotten wars, we provide to draw up a small atlas of the most serious conflicts.

Let's start from Libya, torn apart by 11 years of conflicts between the militias of Tripolitania, with the central government recognized by many governments and supported by the Turks (and Italy) and those of Cyrenaica, led by General Haftar and supported by the Russians, Egyptians and French. Here the question of migrants becomes a problem of security as well as of humanity because every wave of trafficking can split Europe. But the flows of refugees are born elsewhere. In Ethiopia, where not only the civil conflict is underway in Tigray between the federal government and regional authorities, but also the autonomist revolt of the Oromo, the state that surrounds the capital Addis Ababa, and that in Benishangul Gumuz, the region bordering the Sudan hosting the Great Renaissance Dam on the Nile. We should not be indifferent to Somalia in the Horn of Africa, an Italian colony and then protectorate until 1960, where the civil war has been going on for 30 years and since 2006 there has been fighting against the nearby jihadist militias of Al Shabaab to Al Qaeda who occupy the rural areas of the central-southern area of the country. From Somalia and Libya, jihadists have penetrated all of Africa, above all foreigners (Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis) who had cut their teeth in Syria and Afghanistan. In northern Nigeria they took on the name of Boko Haram (meaning "Western education is sacrilegious") 20 years ago and are fighting the federal government. They are inflaming all of the western side in Cameroon , Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In Cameroon and Mali, the United States and France, former military partners of the withdrawn governments, have been replaced by Russian mercenary troops from the Wagner corporation. Also in Central African Republic the Russians have replaced the French and are fighting with government troops and allied Rwandans in the conflict that for almost 10 years has seen 70% of the state occupied by armed rebels from the Coalition of Patriots for Change.

On the eastern side, in the depressed and marginalized north of Mozambique, it is instead the cells of the Islamic state, rivals of Al Qaeda, that oppose the army, penetrating the mining and oil areas of the centre. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially the eastern part is infested by armed groups, many of which are linked to the control of the territory and its resources, the very precious rare earths. Lastly, but not out of brutal violence, the two civil conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan, the youngest state in Africa to which independence from Khartoum has not given peace. This is a reminder of the piecemeal third world war, which is not only being fought in Ukraine, even though the media is focused only on the heart of Europe.

Paolo Lambruschi
NP November 2022

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