Introduction: Conflict in Contemporary Africa


  • Dr. Timothy Stapleton, Special Editor University of Calgary


This special issue of the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies focuses on contemporary conflicts in Africa.   While wars in post-colonial Africa have never received a great deal of attention from mainstream Western media or academia, the Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last year has further obscured a series of growing wars and related humanitarian catastrophes on the continent.  In the hope of encouraging scholarship on contemporary African conflicts, with a view to better understanding them and therefore inform their eventual resolution and prevention, this special issue presents four papers each on a specific case.  Gershon Adela shows how French, and to some extent UN and European Union, military operations in Mali over the past decade violated fundamental principles of counterinsurgency contributing to the prolonging and expansion of the Sahelian conflict. With reference to the Cabo Delgado crisis, Enock Ndawana argues that the delayed SADC regional response in northern Mozambique will remain limited in its effectiveness if the basic social, political and economic causes of insurgency are not addressed.  Rejecting traditional explanations such as poverty and unemployment for the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, Okechukwu Iheduru maintains that such maritime crime has become institutionalized in Nigeria and the introduction of private maritime security has only worsened the situation. In a rare military analysis of a post-colonial African conflict, Charles Thomas shows that while both sides attempted to apply historical lessons from their experience of fighting the Ethiopian insurgency of the 1980s that toppled the Derg regime, only the current federal government was successful in that regard.






Special Section: Conflict in Contemporary Africa