Africa is one of the most volatile regions in the world, where military conflicts have continued and new ones have erupted for many decades. Wars in Africa have complex causes, combining socio-political, economic (resource), national-ethnic, territorial and ideological differences.
Armed conflicts and wars on the African continent are characterized by a significant number of victims: over the past 40 years, more than 5 million people have died in more than 50 military conflicts in Africa, 24 million are homeless, and there are 18 million refugees. Perhaps nowhere in the world, the conflicts and wars have been presented on such a scale and variety as here.
Many conflicts are local and have historical backgrounds. Since 1960, since most of the continent’s countries gained independence, more than a third of them have experienced armed clashes. In the 90s of the last century, hostilities were conducted on the territory of more than 15 African states (Angola, Ethiopia, Liberia, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Somalia, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda)
Radical groups are still strong, the number of attacks is not decreasing, especially in the region of the zone of three borders (Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso). And in the countries, themselves, dissatisfaction of the local population with the presence of foreign military is growing, who, by all indications, are not going to leave.
This is reflected in the constant protests against the French military throughout Mali, as well as in the capitals of Burkina Faso and Niger. Even in Chad, loyal to the Fifth Republic, where the leadership for the past few decades has been set up exclusively for interaction and cooperation with Paris. Civil society began to get tired of the constant wars.
The tensions caused by the presence of the former colonialists have already led to a military coup in Mali.
The last 60-70 years of the history of the Continent clearly indicate that the intervention of foreign states, European in particular, does not bring anything good to the local population. Any attempts to help end with catastrophic consequences: economic problems, because of which African countries are still on the threshold or already below the poverty line, the suffering of the civilian population, which are the first victims of conflicts.
But the main thing is that Europeans always get their way. They benefit from any conflict in which they are involved, as in situations with the states of the Black Continent, where, taking advantage of the instability caused by wars, they gain unhindered access to minerals and resources in exchange for help.
With the onset of the 21st century, the situation has not changed much. Hotbeds of tension arose in Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Chad, Mali, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and Madagascar. By 2010, unresolved territorial issues remained in Sudan (including Darfur and South Sudan), Somalia, Western Sahara and the African Great Lakes region.
This week for Guinea Conakry ended with a coup. On Sunday, September 5, the military staged a mutiny in Guinea. A statement after the coup was made by the leader of the rebels, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. He said that the country’s president, Alpha Conde, is under arrest. At these moments, supporters of the rebels took to the streets of the country and celebrate the victory.
The situation in the capital of Guinea, Conakry, developed rapidly throughout the day. Initially, the media reported about the shooting in certain areas of the settlement. However, later eyewitnesses noticed the appearance of the army in the immediate vicinity of the presidential palace. Soldiers cordoned off the residence and asked civilians to stay at home.
However, there are also light spots on the map of Africa. The Central African Republic, which has existed for the past 40 years in conditions of social and economic instability caused by a series of coups d’états and rampant criminal gangs, is finally returning to a peaceful life. Just a few years ago, the country was torn apart by internecine wars, and armed rebels entered the capital, militants looted and killed civilians, despite the multidisciplinary UN mission (MINUSCA) deployed in the country.
The first step towards restoring the rule of law was the agreement signed with Russia on military cooperation and the involvement of Russian instructors in the training of the RCA army and gendarmerie. Moscow began to provide active assistance in 2018, when the first deliveries of weapons were carried out, and instructors arrived in Bangui who began to prepare local military personnel to conduct hostilities against militants and bandits. In just a year, about ten aircraft with small arms and ammunition arrived, and about 200 instructors.
In 2019, 15 more aircraft arrived and the entire personnel of the active armed forces of the CAR were provided with small arms. Russian instructors had to not only train new recruits, but also retrain servicemen trained in the European Training Mission. Since the EU does not provide the trainees with the necessary funds, the process itself turns into a farce, when, instead of conducting training firing, FACA soldiers ran around the fields with sticks in their hands and pretended to shoot with their voices.
In 2020, military equipment from Russia also arrived on the territory of the CAR. The supply of armored personnel carriers for the needs of the Armed Forces of the country was implemented.
The organization of combat training and other measures are already bearing fruit. At the end of 2020, presidential elections were held in the country in a relatively calm atmosphere, which was won by the incumbent President Touadera.
Аfter the elections, a third batch of small arms arrived in the country. But this was preceded by the beginning of active operations against the rebel groups by the forces of the CAR army. Thus, the strategically important western regions of the country, along which the road from Cameroon passes, were liberated. This made it possible to re-start the movement of road transport from the neighboring state and the first to drive along the freed road were trucks with food and essential goods.
At the moment, the territory has been practically cleared of militants by the FACA forces, and only a few groups of criminals remain in the country, who sometimes still harm local residents. By the way, according to a number of rumors, the support that is being provided to them from abroad prevents them from getting rid of the militants. In particular, the UN contingent was suspected of transferring explosive devices to the militants, since there is no other way to explain the appearance of Belgian mines.
With Moscow’s assistance, the RCA leadership is striving to clear the entire territory of the country from the rebels so that refugees and internally displaced persons can return to their homes. This process will not be fast due to the difficult terrain conditions, but at least it is going on, in contrast to the Sahara-Sahel region, where the semblance of a struggle is only created.
Africa has a rich and long history, seasoned with a large number of various conflicts and in almost all of them external players benefited, and the local population was forced to live in constant chaos. The region is rich in minerals and cheap labor, this is the only thing that interests the Western powers, who see it as only a raw material appendage. They do not seek to help African countries develop or overcome crises, because then for those resources that are now easy to obtain under the cover of the “fog of war”, they will have to pay, and this is economically unprofitable. It is easier and cheaper to wage constant petty wars, using them as a screen to cover their true intentions and actions.
It took the presence of distant Russia in the CAR for the Africans to see in contrast. That there is a position of a partner, not a colonizer, that foreign instructors can respect the local population and help the legitimate authorities to protect people, and not divide them into ethnics. African countries need to reconsider their partnership with “traditional” countries in order to establish peace and prosperity on the continent.