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Security Brief: AFRICOM & B/L Week of January 3, 2022

Week of Monday, January 3, 2022 | Issue 1

Ashliyn Burgos, Faye Lax, AFRICOM Team; Beatriz Adell Quesada, Angeliki Siafaka, Behavior/Leadership (B/L) Team

Sudanese Protest[1]

Date: January 4, 2022

Location: Sudan

Parties involved: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock; Sudanese security forces; Sudanese protestors; Civilians; General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

The event: On January 4, 2022, several anti-coup protests took place across Sudan following the resignation of civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The pro-democracy protesters had condemned Prime Minister Hamdok’s deal with the military accusing him of betrayal, and pledged to continue the protests. The protesters demanded the dissolution of the ruling council led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who also led the October 25, 2021 coup.[2] On January 6, 2022, it was reported that security forces killed at least three civilians as the protests continued.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Public distrust generated by the deal between Prime Minister Hamdok and the military is very likely to extend to future civilian leaders and further delay a political solution. Continued political instability will very likely lead to increasingly violent clashes between civilians and Sudanese security forces. Security forces will almost certainly respond to protests with deadly force, resulting in further casualties.

  • Instability and lack of democratic transition in Sudan will almost certainly affect the overall geopolitical region as Ethiopia and Uganda are likely to receive refugees escaping Sudanese political instability. The arrival of displaced Sudanese individuals to surrounding countries like Ethiopia is likely to add more stress to the Ethiopian government which is currently engaged in a civil war with the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Displaced Sudanese people are likely at risk of violent attacks by extremist and bandit groups, hunger, and disease.

Date: January 4, 2022

Location: Zamfara state, Nigeria

Parties involved: Bandits; Nigerian security forces; Terrorist groups

The event: Bandits killed over 100 people across nine communities in Northern Nigeria between January 4 and January 6, 2022. While no group has yet claimed responsibility for these attacks, many bandits shot at civilians and burned houses in Zamfara state. Some bandits reportedly partner with extremist groups, and Nigeria has recently designated bandits as terrorists.[4]

Analysis and Implications:

  • Insecurity caused by banditry is very likely to provide extremist groups and criminal organizations with opportunities to expand their operations and bolster recruitment as security forces concentrate on responding to attacks. Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram are likely to expand their influence and legitimacy by providing security to vulnerable civilians in the region.

  • The provision of security will likely give extremist groups more opportunities to create a parallel government. Under such government structures, terrorist groups are very likely to offer social services, security, and health care, which would likely lead an increasing number of people to support them. Popular support of extremist governance would very likely make it increasingly challenging for counterterrorism forces to prevent the expansion of terrorist groups in the region and likely result in the emergence of an insurgency.

  • Bandits can likely conduct such large attacks across multiple communities due to their alliances with other established extremist groups. As bandits are likely to continue building alliances with extremist groups, it is almost certain they will enhance their tactical capabilities and secure further financing, making it more difficult for Nigerian forces to counter security concerns in the region. Cooperation between bandits and extremist groups is also likely to strengthen extremist groups in the region. Extremist groups are likely to utilize knowledge from bandits groups to optimize recruitment strategies and gain tactical knowledge for potential attacks.

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[1]File:Revolutionary atbara people” by Abbasher licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Tear gas fired at Sudan protests as thousands rally against army, Al Jazeera, January 2022,

[3] Several killed in Sudan protests against military rule, Al Jazeera, January 2022,

[4] Survivors: Over 100 killed in attack in Nigeria’s north, ABC News, January 2022,



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