For decades, Africa has been home to armed and violent rebel groups. Millions of individuals have been killed by these organizations across the continent. Across Africa, rebel operations have resulted in the displacement of millions of people. Violent rebel organizations have had a significant role in the continent's continued poverty. Politics and religious values drive the bulk of rebel movements. Despite the fact that there are numerous rebel organizations distributed over the continent, some have been far more aggressive than others. African governments have failed to deal with these organizations in a decisive manner. These are the top ten most violent rebel organizations that are active.
1) Ansar al-Sunna '
Ansar al-Sunna is a Muslim rebel group based in northern Mozambique that is wrecking havoc across Cabo Delgado. In 2015, Ansar al-Sunna began as a religious movement before becoming armed. The group opposes the government's program of secular education. In 2017, the organization drew international attention after 30 gunmen attacked police units in Mocimboa da Praia, an Indian Ocean town in Mozambique's north. With its significant Muslim population, high youth unemployment, and poor economic growth, Cabo Delgado presented an ideal setting for the terrorist group to expand its membership. The organization has been attacking villages throughout the province. Civilians have fled from their homes.
2) The lord’s resistance army
Over the last 30 years, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been one of Central Africa's cruelest and most lasting military groups. Since its start in 1987, the LRA has abducted around 67,000 people, including 30,000 children, for use as child soldiers and sex slaves. This rebel group's goal is to overthrow Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, and install a new government based on the Ten Commandments.
3) Boko Haram
Boko Haram is an Islamist militant rebel group that has been carrying out brutal attacks on towns in Northern Nigeria since 2011. This insurgent group has mostly conducted its operations in Borno state, displacing millions of people. In April 2014, the kidnapping of nearly 200 Chibok girls from their school gained international attention. Boko Haram has killed over 350000 people and forced over three million people to flee their homes. The Nigerian government has been attempting to drive Boko Haram out of northeastern Nigeria with the help of neighboring countries. The efforts were successful, and the number of victims in the region has fallen dramatically. The group does, however, retain control of several villages and pockets of territory, and it continues to kidnap victims, mostly women and children.
4) Ambazonian Rebels
The Ambazonia rebels are a militant group trying to establish Ambazonia as a breakaway state in western Cameroon. After citizen protests calling for better representation of Cameroon's Anglophone minority were ruthlessly suppressed in 2017, the organization began battling the Cameroonian military. The violence has lasted over five years and claimed the lives of over 3,000 people. Recently, a military convoy was damaged by an improvised explosive device in Kumbo, a town in the Northwest. Cameroon's army has struggled to regain power despite military offensives.
5) The Coalition of Patriots for Change
The Coalition of Patriots for Change is a coalition of main rebel organizations in the Central African Republic that was formed in 2020 to disrupt the general election in the country in 2020–21. Since then, the organization has taken control of a number of cities, including Yaloke and Bossembele. Three peacekeepers were killed by the rebels in Dekoa and Bakouma. Many sections of the country were unable to hold polls due to rebel attacks. Violence forced the closure of 800 voting sites, or 14% of the total, across the country. The coalition’s goal is to topple President Faustin Archange Touadéra's government.
6) Alliance of Democratic Forces
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is an Islamist rebel group that operates in Uganda and the DRC. The Ugandan government considers the organization to be a terrorist organization. The ADF was founded by the amalgamation of multiple rebel factions in Uganda. Jamil Mukulu, a former Catholic who converted to Islam, was the group's leader. After the incarceration of its leader in 2015 and the ascent of Musa Baluku as his successor, the ADF became more extremist. It gained support from the Sudanese government, which was embroiled in a disagreement with Uganda's government. Thousands of individuals have been killed by the group.
7) Ansar ul Islam
Ansar ul Islam is a Burkinabe and Mali-based militant Islamist rebel organization. In December 2016, the organization released a statement claiming responsibility for an attack in Nassoumbou. In February 2017, two police stations in Tongomayel and Baraboulé were attacked, as was a community in Soum in March 2017. The group has killed hundreds in Mali and Burkina Faso.
8) Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice
The Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice is a rebel group in the Central African Republic. The group is a breakaway from the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity, and it fought in the Bush War in the Central African Republic. The Kara ethnic group is primarily represented in this rebel faction. The organization assaulted many communities in 2019 and 2020, killing hundreds of people in Birao, Am Dafok, Bria, and N'Délé.
Al-Shabaab is a Somalia-based Islamist rebel organization. The group launched an insurgency against Somalia's government in 2006. It used to rule Mogadishu's capital and extensive swaths of the Somali countryside, but an African Union–led military effort has forced it back from major population centers in recent years. However, the insurgency in Somalia's war-torn country remains the biggest security threat, and it continues to carry out violent operations against civilians in the region. The group continues to attack civilians, journalists, and international humanitarian workers.
10) Cabinda Democratic Front
Cabinda rebel group is fighting for the independence of Cabinda from Angola. Throughout the 1990s, Cabinda insurgents abducted and ransomed foreign oil employees to fund future attacks against the national government. In 1992, the rebel group stopped buses, ejected Chevron Oil employees, and set fire to the buses. The organization is still active in Angola and continues to pose a serious threat to surrounding communities.
These violent rebel groups across Africa continue to cause insecurity on the continent. Countries need to decisively deal with these groups. The rebel groups contribute to the continuation of poverty on the continent by displacing millions of people. The African Union also needs to step up and help countries.