Portal:Military history of Africa

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The Military history of Africa Portal

The military history of Africa is one of the oldest and most diverse military histories. Africa is a continent of diverse regions with diverse people speaking hundreds of different languages with many different cultures and religions. These differences have been the source of much conflict.

Like the history of Africa, African military history is often divided by region. North Africa was part of the Mediterranean cultures and was integral to the military history of antiquity. The military history of modern Africa may be divided into three broad time periods: pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial.

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The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups which began in 1991. It is estimated to have cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives. More than 70 journalists were assassinated, either by security forces or by Islamists[1] The conflict effectively ended with a government victory, following the surrender of the Islamic Salvation Army and the 2002 defeat of the Armed Islamic Group. However, low-level fighting still continues in some areas.

The conflict began in December 1991, when the government cancelled elections after the first round results had shown that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party would win, citing fears that the FIS would end democracy. After the FIS was banned and thousands of its members arrested, Islamist guerrillas rapidly emerged and began an armed campaign against the government and its supporters. They formed themselves into several armed groups, principally the Islamic Armed Movement (MIA), based in the mountains, and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), based in the towns. The guerrillas initially targeted the army and police, but some groups soon started attacking civilians. In 1994, as negotiations between the government and the FIS's imprisoned leadership reached their height, the GIA declared war on the FIS and its supporters, while the MIA and various smaller groups regrouped, becoming the FIS-loyalist Islamic Salvation Army (AIS).

References

  1. ^ Entre menace, censure et liberté: La presse privé algérienne se bat pour survivre, March 31, 1998

Selected biography

Samora Moisés Machel (September 29, 1933 – October 19, 1986) was President of Mozambique from 1975 until he died eleven years later, when his presidential aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain where the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa converge.

Machel was attracted to Marxist ideals and began his political activities in a hospital where he protested against the fact that black nurses were paid less than whites doing the same job. He later told a reporter how bad medical treatment was for Mozambique's poor: "The rich man's dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man's wealth is built." His grandparents and great grandparents had fought against Portuguese colonial rule in the 19th century so it was not surprising that in 1962 Machel joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) which was dedicated to creating an independent Mozambique. He received military training in 1963 elsewhere in Africa, and returned in 1964 to lead FRELIMO's first guerrilla attack against the Portuguese in northern Mozambique. By 1970, Machel had become commander-in-chief of the FRELIMO army which had already established itself among Mozambique's peasantry. His most important goal, he said, was to get the people "to understand how to turn the armed struggle into a revolution" and to realize how essential it was "to create a new mentality to build a new society."

Quotes

"In view of my services in Africa, I have the chance of dying by poison. Two generals have brought it with them. It is fatal in three seconds. If I take the poison, none of the usual steps will be taken against my family; that is, against you. They will also leave my staff alone." — Statement from Rommel's suicide note, choosing death by cyanide, rather than one involving the threatened persecution of his family and staff, after being implicated in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Equipment

Aérospatiale SA-318 BW Alouette II

The Alouette II is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Aérospatiale of France. The Alouette II is the first helicopter to use a gas turbine instead of a conventional heavier piston engine.

It was mostly used for military purposes in observation, photography, air/sea rescue, liaison and training but it has also carried anti-tank missiles and homing torpedoes. As a civilian helicopter it was put to use as a casualty evacuation (with two external stretcher panniers), crop-spraying and flying crane (with a 500kg external sling load).

Alouette II is used by Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

Selected picture

East African soldiers of the British army fighting in Burma during World War II

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