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Guterres Message to BF Guinea and Mali and Ethiopian Police Attack on Muslims and Attack on ATMIS

April 28 - May 04, 2022 | Issue 6 - AFRICOM

Ashliyn Burgos, Francesca Fiore, Isaac Clemons, Matthias Conti, Natalie Weidenbach, AFRICOM

Hannah Norton, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



United Nations Secretary General António Guterres[1]



Date: May 1, 2022

Location: Dakar, Senegal

Parties involved: UN Secretary-General António Guterres; UN; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); international community; Burkina Faso junta; Guinea junta; Mali junta; Russian government

The event: On Sunday, Guterres urged the juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali to shorten their transitional periods to democracy. The three countries have been affected by coups in 2022, 2021, and 2020 respectively, with Burkina Faso announcing last week that they will be sticking to their original timetable of over three years to return to civilian control, the same as Guinea.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Guterres’ announcement will likely be followed by sanctions on Burkina Faso and Guinea by ECOWAS and international institutions, such as the UN. Possible sanctions are likely to include closing land and sea borders between Burkina Faso, Guinea and other ECOWAS countries. Monetary transactions between the two countries and other regional financial institutions will likely be restricted, very likely disrupting local business operations and discouraging foreign investment, likely further weakening the two countries’ financial outlook.

  • The fragile political and economic situation of Burkina Faso and Guinea will very likely keep ECOWAS and international institutions from imposing harsh sanctions likely to undermine regional stability. The juntas of Burkina Faso and Guinea will likely factor the potential of lighter sanctions in their operational planning, very likely maintaining their planned transitional timetables despite the threat of potential consequences.

  • The increasing friction between the juntas of Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali and the international community will very likely fuel anti-imperialist and anti-Western sentiment within the three countries. Russia will likely exploit the deteriorating relationship between the three countries and Western institutions to expand its regional influence, very likely increasing its presence in West Africa through renewed military and commercial cooperation.


Date: May 1, 2022

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Parties involved: Ethiopian police; Muslim worshippers

The event: On Sunday, during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, a riot occurred after the Ethiopian police used tear gas on young Muslims praying outside the Addis Ababa international stadium. The motive behind the use of tear gas remains unknown. This confrontation follows a series of anti-Muslim attacks taking place throughout last month.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Monday’s police violence is likely to set a precedent for increased anti-Muslim violence against the group. If the Ethiopian police fail to issue formal apologies, their actions are very likely to be interpreted as intentional, likely increasing internal anti-Muslim sentiment. Anti-Muslim Ethiopians are likely to interpret police silence on the incident as indication of tolerance for similar actions, likely resulting in an increase in attacks on Muslims.

  • This confrontation is very likely to result in demonstrations and protests by the Muslim population against the police and government authorities. They are likely to demand increased protection and legal consequences against the officer involved in the attack. A surge in protests is likely to put pressure on law enforcement and the Ethiopian government.


Date: May 3, 2022

Location: El Baraf, Shabelle, Somalia

Parties involved: Al Shabaab; African Transition Mission Union in Somalia (ATMIS); Somali military; Somali citizens; United States

The event: On May 3, an attack occurred on an ATMIS encampment in El Baraf, located in Somali’s Shabelle region. Witnesses spotted two helicopters flying over and firing at the military base, followed by huge blasts. Three civilians died, and five others were injured. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing a statement announcing the raid on ATMIS forces and their complete control over the entire military base. Al Shabaab has made frequent attacks in Mogadishu the last few weeks during Somalia’s delayed parliamentary elections in an attempt to overtake the country and implement a strict interpretation of Sharia law.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is almost certain that al-Shabaab’s control of ATMIS’ military base will disrupt ATMIS aid efforts and grant al Shabaab access to ATMIS weaponry and equipment. This will likely increase al-Shabaab’s tactical sophistication and ability to defend claimed territory. This will very likely expand al-Shabaab’s ability to challenge Somali forces, likely causing Somali forces to require the assistance of other countries like the US to aid in regaining control. Populations dependent on the disrupted aid will likely face an exacerbated humanitarian crisis.

  • Al-Shabaab seizure of territory north of Mogadishu will likely increase the fragility of the newly elected government, likely delaying operations and impacting Somali troop deployment to the region. Without any Somali military intervention, it is likely al-Shabaab will attempt to expand its territorial outreach in the Shabelle region. Civilian casualties will likely increase as al-Shabaab carries out expansion efforts, likely placing more demand on the government. The newly elected parliament is unlikely to respond immediately due to the existing political infighting, almost certainly leaving regions vulnerable.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations by UNclimatechange, licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Burkina, Guinée, Mali: l'ONU veut une transition dans «les plus brefs» délais, Le Figaro, May 2022, translated by Matthias Conti, https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/burkina-guinee-mali-l-onu-veut-une-transition-dans-les-plus-brefs-delais-20220501

[3] Ethiopia: Police and protesters clash during Eid celebrations, Africa News, May 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/05/02/ethiopia-police-and-protesters-clash-during-eid-celebrations/

[4] Al Shabaab attacks African Union camp in Somalia, 3 killed, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/al-shabaab-group-attacks-african-union-mission-troop-camp-central-somalia-local-2022-05-03/

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