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African countries face instability, violence, tensions
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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WASHINGTON (CNS)—The following countries in Africa recently have been or currently are engaged in violent conflicts:
- Chad. Fighting between an armed rebel group and the government continues despite a 2002 peace deal. Sudan and Chad's political leaders accuse each other of trying to topple their governments by backing rebel forces.
- Congo. The conflict in eastern Congo among warring rebel factions backed by Uganda and Rwanda and government troops backed by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe has created massive displacement and a humanitarian crisis. Despite a peace accord signed in January 2008, more than 250,000 people have been displaced since August in renewed violence. More than 1 million people already were displaced in the region from previous fighting.
- Eritrea. After more than 30 years of fighting with Ethiopia, Eritreans are trying to rebuild their country. A 1998-2000 border conflict with Ethiopia left more than 70,000 people dead and still threatens the fragile peace.
- Ethiopia. In addition to the conflict with Eritrea, Ethiopia's involvement in Somalia has left Ethiopia's relationship with its neighbors tense.
- Kenya. Postelection violence in late 2007 and 2008 left more than 1,200 people dead and displaced more than 350,000 in the country. A U.N.-brokered deal created a unity government in which Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki share power, but tensions remain.
- Madagascar. More than 100 people have died in political violence in this island nation since January, when opposition and pro-government demonstrators took to the streets in a series of protests.
- Nigeria. Conflict involving militant groups in the oil-rich areas of Nigeria has drawn attention to the fact that while the country is profiting from its oil reserves, Nigerians continue to live in poverty.
- Rwanda. The country's 1994 war between Hutus and Tutsis is considered Africa's worst genocide in modern times. But while Rwandans rebuild and reconcile, the country's support of rebels in eastern Congo has embroiled the country in conflict.
- Somalia. Without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, Somalis have been living in a state of lawlessness. However, the recent formation of a unity government led by President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed provides hope for relative peace in a country wracked by famine and disease.
- Sudan. After it emerged from a two-decade civil war between the mainly Muslim North and the Christian and animist South, fighting between rebels and Sudanese forces in the western region of Darfur broke out in 2003. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict.
- Uganda. Government forces have been trying to root out infamous rebel leader Joseph Kony, who often hides in neighboring Congo. Kony's Lord's Resistance Army started its fight—which includes rape, murder and child kidnapping as military tactics—against the Ugandan government in the mid-1980s.
- Zimbabwe. After years of political turmoil and economic havoc in the country, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government in February. However, with the highest inflation rate in the world and a dismantling of the public sector, observers have raised doubts of Zimbabwe's political stability with Mugabe still in power.

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