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Violence down sharply in sub-Saharan Africa
Description: WASHINGTON - After decades as the world's most violent region, sub-Saharan Africa has lost that unwanted title and is finding peace.
Date: 17 January 2007
Author: Frank Greve
Source: McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON - After decades as the world's most violent region, sub-Saharan Africa has lost that unwanted title and is finding peace.

The number of conflicts south of the Sahara Desert is down sharply, according to two new tallies, and so is their lethality. The reports' authors credit successful peacemaking and peace-building efforts by international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union as well as interventions by individual African countries.

"This is very good news," said one of the authors, Andrew Mack, the director of the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. It's a conflict-reduction research center funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the governments of Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to the center's Human Security Brief 2006 , most of the drop in violence is recent. From 2002 through 2005, the number of sub-Saharan conflicts in which government troops participated dropped from 13 to 5. The number between factions or tribes that didn't involve government forces dropped from 24 to 14.

Also down was the lethality of conflicts in the region, which comprises 46 countries south of the Sahara Desert. For state-backed conflicts, which are the deadliest, the region's estimated combat death toll in 2005 was 1,851. As recently as 1999, it was nearly 100,000.

Sudan's Darfur region, the site of Africa's most-publicized ongoing conflict, wasn't included because the Vancouver center classifies Sudan as part of North Africa. If Sudan had been included, however, it wouldn't have changed the overall picture.

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