Anti-government protests also took place in Oman and Djibouti.
In Afghanistan, the standoff continued between President Hamid Karzai and the opposition over the flawed September parliamentary election. A controversial special tribunal set up by Karzai – which the opposition condemns as unconstitutional – has started recounting votes in several provinces. With concerns growing over renewed tension if the tribunal reverses results, CrisisWatch identifies Afghanistan as a conflict risk alert for March. The political crisis came amid an upsurge of insurgent violence across the country.
Three Muscovite tourists were killed in a guerrilla attack on a North Caucasus ski resort, one of several attacks in the region’s Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The attack underlined the degree to which the previously relatively peaceful republic has become a target of Islamic guerrilla activity.
Conflict in Somalia escalated as government troops backed by AU peacekeepers battled against Islamic militant al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian troops were reportedly involved in border clashes. In Somaliland, tensions increased in oil-rich Sool, Sanaag and Cayn region as government forces fought with rebel militia.
The collapse of a six-year ceasefire led to heightened tensions in Côte d’Ivoire and further warnings of an outbreak of civil war. Forces Nouvelles rebels backing President-elect Alassane Ouattara fought with the army in the western region, while in Abidjan troops loyal to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo clashed for the first time with army defectors now supporting Ouattara.
The situation in Thailand also deteriorated as hostilities broke out along the border with Cambodia in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple. Compromised elections in Uganda saw President Yoweri Museveni win a fourth term.