Our focus for this issue is on the organized violence that occurred in August 2023, as well as the current conflict situation in Niger.

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UCDP Newsletter #17



Playing into the hands of jihadi groups?

Director's note

Welcome to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) Newsletter!

Our focus for this issue is on the organized violence that occurred in August 2023, as well as the current conflict situation in Niger.

On July 26th, Niger's presidential guards carried out a coup, resulting in the removal of President Mohammed Bazoum from power. The international community was quick to condemn the act. Following the coup, there has been a significant increase in fatalities in organized violence, mainly linked to the jihadi groups. The coup has strengthened their position, exacerbating regional instability. The junta's ability to counteract this surge and any potential regional implications are yet to unfold. For more information about these developments, please continue reading below.

Your feedback and suggestions are important to us. Please do not hesitate to reach out at ucdp@pcr.uu.se.

Best regards,
Magnus Öberg
UCDP Director


Mert Can Yilmaz, Uppsala Conflict Data Program

As of August 2023, the conflict in Ukraine has resulted in over 150,000 deaths due to organized violence since the war began in February 2022, according to preliminary estimates from UCDP Candidate Events.

In August 2023, organized violence resulted in more fatalities in Europe and the Middle East compared to the previous month in these regions, while Africa saw a decrease in fatality estimates. Meanwhile, Asia and the Americas witnessed similar levels of violence intensity as the preceding month.

The five deadliest state-based conflicts in August 2023 included Russia-Ukraine, Sudan: Government, Burkina Faso: Government, Ethiopia: Amhara and Somalia: Government.

Mexico witnessed a significant number of violent confrontations that resulted in almost 380 deaths, as rival cartels clashed with each other. The Jalisco Cartel New Generation remained the most active group in terms of fatal incidents of organized violence in the country. Additionally, non-state conflicts in Brazil and Nigeria also had a significant impact.

In August 2023, DR Congo witnessed large-scale one-sided violence, as more than 250 civilians were intentionally killed by various state and non-state actors, IS being the most violent one. IS involved in one-sided violence not only in DR Congo but also in Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Mali and Burkina Faso. JNIM also actively engaged in one-sided attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, resulting in the targeted killing of almost 70 civilians. Meanwhile, Myanmar's government forces continued to deliberately target civilians, leading to the death of nearly 50 civilians.

Source: UCDP Candidate Events Dataset 23.0.8


Amanda Löfström, Uppsala Conflict Data Program

On 26 July, a coup d'état was staged in Niger by members of the presidential guard, ousting President Mohammed Bazoum. The main rationale behind the coup was explained to be the “degrading security situation” in the country. The international response to the coup was swift, with many countries denouncing the new military junta and suspending their financial support to the country. ECOWAS stated that it would use “all measures to restore constitutional order”, including the use of force. The military junta stands firm in its unwillingness to return to civilian rule, and has shown no real attempts to address the “degrading security situation”.

Niger is located in a region hard hit by large-scale jihadist violence linked to both the Islamic State and al-Qaeda since the mid-2010s. However, despite an increase in violence since 2019, Niger has been relatively spared, compared to its neighbors, with the year 2022 even seeing a drop in the number of fatalities. After a peak in March 2023, there was a decrease in the levels of violence in the country from April through July.

This trend was abruptly reversed after the late July coup, with August seeing jihadist groups increasing their attacks on both government and civilian targets. Most notably, JNIM claimed responsibility for an attack on 15 August near Koutougou town (Tillabéri region) which killed 17 government soldiers. Additionally, IS increased their attacks on civilians, with one of many events taking place on 15 August in Dessa commune (Tillabéri region) resulting in over 20 civilians killed. In all, the total number of fatalities in organized violence increased by more than 800% in August, compared to July, increasing from 14 recorded fatalities in July to 113 fatalities in August.

One month in, the junta has little to show with regard to its announced raison d’être, tackling the degrading security situation. So far, instead of curtailing the violence, the junta’s seizing of power seems to only have played into the hands of the jihadi groups, which thrive in the generated instability generated. The aftermath of the coup brings with it a high risk for escalating regional unrest, fueling already existing tensions within the region as well as creating new tensions between the neighboring countries. With the military junta mostly focused on its own security in Niamey, planning to counter a possible ECOWAS intervention, jihadists have clearly taken advantage of the degraded security situation by conducting more, and larger, violent attacks in their strongholds. It remains to be seen whether the junta has the ability to turn things around in its struggle against the jihadi groups, and what a potential regional intervention would mean in that context.


The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) is the world’s main provider of data on organized violence and the oldest ongoing data collection project for civil war, with a history of almost 40 years. Its definition of armed conflict has become the global standard of how conflicts are systematically defined and studied.


Uppsala Conflıct Data Program

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The UCDP is based at Uppsala University's Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

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