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January 12-23, 2022 | Issue 1 - Weapons & Tactics

Martina Sclaverano; Lucy Game; Andreea Troneci; Beatrice Fratini

Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Shachi Gokhale, Senior Editor

Burkina Faso Armed Forces[1]

Date: January 12, 2023

Location: Arbinda District, Sahel Region, Burkina Faso

Parties involved: Burkina Faso; Burkina Faso Armed Forces; Burkinabe government; Burkinabes; hostages; jihadists

The event: Suspected jihadis abducted about 60 women and children in Burkina Faso. The kidnapping took place while they were looking for food near their village due to the scarce food supplies reaching the region.[2] On January 20, the Burkina Faso Armed Forces found and rescued 66 victims in the Central-North province.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Rebel and terrorist groups in Burkina Faso and surrounding countries will very likely conduct more mass kidnappings to fund their activities. These groups will very likely target women and children to sell them into human trafficking rings in exchange for weapon supplies or money. There is a roughly even chance that, instead of trafficking the victims, the kidnappers will ask the local government and human rights organizations for ransom money before freeing the victims. The Burkinabe government will likely attempt to rescue civilians without negotiating with the terrorists, which will very likely increase violence in the area.

  • The children kidnapped by jihadi armed groups will very likely become child soldiers fighting for those armed groups. Rebels will very likely acquire lightweight semi-automatic weapons like the AK-47 so that children can carry and use them without extensive training. Kidnapped women have a roughly even chance of being employed in reconnaissance and information-gathering to prevent senior rebels from exposing themselves on the field. This will very likely help jihadis armed groups gain more influence and territory in the area, which will likely put more strain on the civilians to work for them.

  • Jihadi armed groups will almost certainly exploit the humanitarian crisis to solidify their presence in the region. This will very likely exacerbate food shortages by obstructing the delivery of supplies to the area. Burkinabe families will very likely continue fleeing the region to escape the food scarcity, conceding more territories to the jihadi armed groups. Jihadis armed groups will very likely continue to attack and kidnap women and children staying in the region as they go out into the wilderness to procure food.

Date: January 15, 2023

Location: Kasindi, North Kivu Region, Democratic Republic of Congo

Parties involved: Democratic Republic of Congo; Allied Democratic Forces (ADF); Islamic State (ISIS); Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP); Congo government; Congo military; Ugandan government; Ugandan military; Congo Churches

The event: An improvised explosive device (IED) attack by an Islamist State-affiliated group killed ten people and injured 39 during Sunday Mass at a Protestant church in Congo.[4] Military experts suspect the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is the perpetrator of the attack. The ADF is an Islamist militant group from Uganda loyal to the Islamic State and particularly active in eastern Congo. In the targeted North Kivu region, Congolese and Uganda forces jointly fight against the ADF.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • ADF and other Islamic State-affiliated armed groups will very likely target more religiously-significant institutions to encourage ethnic and religious-based clashes and cause further instability in the region. As the Islamic State claimed the attack, its branches in other regions, such as ISWAP, will very likely also attack churches or strike during Protestant holidays. Large churches will likely broaden security measures, such as implementing armed guards for upcoming Lent and Easter celebrations. Churches and religious associations in the North Kivu region will almost certainly operate more covertly to avoid being detected by the ADF.

  • Militant groups, including ADF and Islamic State affiliates, will almost certainly continue utilizing IEDs being adopted as a primary weapon. IEDs are very likely favored as they inflict a high number of casualties even when fatalities are relatively low. Extremist groups will very likely hide IEDs next to targeted institutions or launch them from a distance to avoid detection.

  • Militant groups will very likely acquire IED-related materials on the black market or dark web and recruit people with knowledge of mechanics to continue conducting IED attacks. ISIS will likely send militants with mechanical training from other regional groups, such as ISWAP, to assist ADF’s IED operations. The Congolese and Ugandan governments will very likely broaden their digital sharing capacity to detect transactions purchasing IED-related materials, such as remote detonators and wires.

Date: January 24, 2023

Location: Germany

Parties Involved: German Defense minister Annalena Baerbock; Ukraine; Germany; Russia; Poland; USA; NATO

The event: Baerbock has announced Germany will authorize Poland to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The announcement came after days of tensions across Western countries due to Germany’s delay in providing the authorization that international arms re-export rules require.[6] Germany announced that it will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after its initial indecisiveness, but only after the US confirmed that it will provide Ukraine with some of its M1 Abrams tanks.[7]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Russian government will likely retaliate against Germany to punish its indirect involvement in the conflict, such as by targeting German officials. In the upcoming weeks, German citizens or government representatives have a roughly even chance of being denied visas to enter Russia. There is a roughly even chance that provocations such as threatening letters or suspicious packages will reach German diplomats in Russia and their counterparts on German soil.

  • Western allies will very likely continue to coordinate and logistically support Ukrainian land counter-offensives in the upcoming months in an effort to end the war within spring 2023. Ukrainian allies will likely invest heavily in intense military campaigns that would result in a rapid victory, such as Blitzkrieg-related tactics. Ukrainian allies will almost certainly target weaker sectors of the Russian military, like ground troops, to counterbalance and prevail over superior Russian air and missile forces. Other countries possessing Leopard 2 tanks will almost certainly ask Germany for authorization to send them to Ukraine, likely aiming to concentrate land powers to overwhelm Russian forces and cut them off from their food and weapons supplies.


[2] Burkina Faso Abduction Included Infants, Girls, Women, Prosecutor Says, Voice of America, January 2023,

[3] Over 60 women, children freed in Burkina Faso after kidnapping, Reuters, January 2023,

[4] Bomb Kills 10 at DR Congo Church, Islamists Suspected, Voice of America, January 2023,

[5] Suspected Islamists kill at least 5 people in east Congo church bomb attack, Reuters, January 2023,

[6] German foreign minister will not stop Poland sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, The Times UK, January 2023,

[7] Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, BBC, January 2023,


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