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Militant Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa header


Understanding Militant Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa


Over the past four years, militant activity in sub-Saharan Africa has surged, affecting the Sahel region and countries like Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Attacks, clashes with security forces, and insurgent activities have escalated significantly.

Both domestic and foreign interventions have been attempted, but the results remain mixed. Additionally, opposition to foreign military presence has complicated the situation. In our latest Insight Report on militancy in Sub-Saharan Africa, our security team assesses the situation, providing their security outlook and recommendations.

The Sahel Region

One key group operating in the Sahel region is Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Rather than directly controlling territory, JNIM exists as an insurgent group, launching attacks on security forces and civilians.

While large-scale attacks have occurred in major cities, the group has also targeted more remote areas, cutting off towns and cities from vital supply networks.

Looking ahead, challenges persist. The withdrawal of transnational counterterrorism forces leaves national governments (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger) facing JNIM alone. The impact of increasing cooperation with Russia remains uncertain regarding limiting the group’s spread.

As militant activity persists, countries directly affected must remain vigilant, while neighbouring nations risk exposure to spillover violence. Balancing security measures with regional cooperation remains crucial.


There has been a significant increase in militant attacks in Cabo Delgado province since early 2024. In addition to Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops withdrawing from the country, there have been calls from the Islamist militant al-Sunnah group for its affiliates to increase attacks.

These, coupled with the potential resumption of oil and gas activities in the Palma district, have most likely contributed to this noticeable increase.

In this context, our security experts forecast that the security landscape in Cabo Delgado will moderately deteriorate over the coming months.

However, Rwanda plans to send its troops into areas previously covered by SADC troops – which will eventually stabilise the security environment. South Africa may also retain some troops in Cabo Delgado. The presence of foreign troops will ensure that urban centres are not adversely affected, compared to rural areas and small towns.

DRC and Uganda

The Militant Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) originated in Uganda and is now one of the most violent groups in DRC’s North Kivu province. Their attacks are frequently used to displace people from mining sites and the areas around them.

While attacks in DRC will continue to occur, especially in its Eastern provinces, our security team does not expect attacks in Uganda to increase. This is partly due to the Ugandan security forces ramping up efforts to combat the ADF. 

Although attacks in Uganda will remain small-scale and infrequent, where attacks do occur they will most likely happen in outskirt areas of Kampala and remote border areas between DRC and Uganda.

Our Security Recommendations

  • Conduct pre-travel risk assessments to determine your employees’ potential exposure to militancy and other risks.
  • Ensure 24/7 security support  when travelling to extreme-risk areas.
  • Closely monitor developments in locations where your workforce is present, through reliable alerts.
  • Ensure that the workforce in militancy-affected areas is trained to face higher risks such as kidnapping, carjacking, ambush, etc.

For more detailed recommendations, our Workforce Resilience subscribers can access the Insight Report via their portal.