Two actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in July 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.
July 2010 TRENDS
In Somalia militant Islamist group al-Shabaab demonstrated for the first time its capability to spread conflict and bloodshed more widely across the region by launching suicide bomb attacks on Kampala, Uganda that killed at least 85 people. The bombings came after explicit warnings by al-Shabaab that they would take revenge on Uganda and Burundi for their troop contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which supports the transitional government against the Islamist group. Despite threats by al-Shabaab leader Sheikh Abu-Zubeyr of further strikes on Kampala and in Burundi, the two countries maintained their resolve to take on the insurgency and committed to send more troops to AMISOM. In Somalia itself scores of civilians were killed as renewed fighting broke out between al-Shabaab and government forces to the north of Mogadishu.
In stark contrast, the situation in Somaliland improved in July, with the peaceful transfer of power to successful opposition candidate Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo following the June presidential elections. Both the conduct of the elections and the work of the National Election Commission won international praise and point to the consolidation of Somaliland’s democratic transformation.
July saw further political violence and a shrinking of the democratic space in Rwanda ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for August. The killing of opposition politician Andre Kagwa Rwisereka is the latest in a series of attacks on high-profile government critics. Although the government denies any involvement, this month’s events should be seen as part of an alarming trend towards repression and intimidation, which could have serious security implications come next month’s elections.