After the colonial masters formally began to exit Africa around the 1960’s, many of the newly independent African nations quickly and sadly descended into a series of protracted power struggles as popular personalities, competing ethnicities, or rival regions sought to control their nation’s future. Most of those power struggles unraveled into bitter inter-tribal conflicts or full-blown civil wars. Often, those wars were brutal, intense, and characterized by widespread war crimes on both sides.
In general, most of Africa’s biggest conflicts can be considered to be the direct consequences of the actions by European colonial powers during their time of selfish misrule in Africa. Many blame the divide-and-rule policies of colonial administrations for fostering mistrust, angst, and unnecessary rivalry among various ethnic groups within most countries. Others point to the fact that the colonial powers hastily withdrew from Africa, leaving power behind in the hands of ill-prepared nationalists who knew little about governance.
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Whatever your particular belief about the causes of instability, please join Face2Face Africa on this disturbing, sometimes painful review of some of Africa’s biggest conflicts: the principal actors, the casualty figures, duration, and possible reasons for the war. In all of the wars mentioned, the numbers of causalities are only estimates – conflicting figures abound.