Demographic, Environmental
Security Issues Project


PART 1 of 3 -- January 1996
Ongoing Wars, Children as Casualties of War

Ronald Bleier, editor

Part 1


31 WARS IN 1994, OR 34, or 35?

* According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook for 1995, in 1994 there were 31 major armed conflicts in 27 locations in the world. According to SIPRI, all of these were intra-state conflicts with inter-state components in Nagorno-Karabach, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Takjikistan.

* According to "Vital Signs" (Worldwatch Institute, 1995, pp. 110-111), in 1994 there were 34 wars with more than 1,000 dead (7 with more than 100,000).

* According to The State of the World Atlas, "during 1994 more than 35 states were waging war inside or outside their territories. Altogether more than 50 states were at war at some time between 1990 and 1994." As part of their definition of war, they write that war is "an open and armed conflict" in which "more than 25 people are killed in a year."


    AFRICA [map]

  1. Burundi -- More than 100,000 people have died in the conflict which began in October 1993 pitting the Tutsi dominated military against the Hutu rebels with civilians and refugees caught in the middle (NYT, Reuters, 24 November '95).

    The low-level civil war began when the first elected Hutu president was killed in a failed coup. Fierce clashes between the Burundi army and Hutu rebels erupted in December 1995 in the capital, Bujumbura. Amnesty International (AI) believes that attacks by Tutsi dominated security forces in the capital are aimed at ridding Bujumbura of Hutu. In addition, armed Hutu groups are responding by killing ethnic Tutsi.

    According to Amnesty International there are about 1,000 casualties per month; and there have been more than 1,300 dead since the start of November 1995. AI believes that there are unreported massacres in the inaccessible provinces of Bubanza and Cititoke where fighting has intensified during 1995 (12.20.95). The Hutu president of the Hutu majority country is Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

  2. Eritrea vs. Yemen -- December 1995 clash over control over the Hamish Islands which are in the midst of an important waterway 100 miles north of the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Eritrea claimed that it agreed to a cease-fire but this was disputed by Yemen.

    Yemen has F-5 warplanes, Russian MIGs, Sukhols and attack helicopters. Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in May 1993 , has warships. Yemen claimed that Eritrea invaded island on December 15, 1995 and admitted that 160 of its 500 man garrison had been captured including the garrison commander. 16 soldiers have been reported killed. President of Yemen: Ali Abdullah Salih; President of Eritrea: Issaias Afeweiki (AP, in NYT, December 18/19, 1995).

  3. Mozambique vs. tribes

  4. Rwanda -- Mid-93 population estimate: 7.4 million. The plane crash on April 6, 1994 killing Rwanda's president, Juvenal Habyarimana, precipitated the war between Hutus and Tutsis which left as many as one million dead and about 2 million refugees between April and August '94.

    In mid-1995, there were 57,000 (mostly Hutu) prisoners in Rwandan jails which were built to hold 12,000; the prison population has gone up from 53,000 to 57,000 in less than a month. Some 2,300 inmates have died from disease over the past 15 months (NYT, Reuters, Oct 29, '95). Rwandan President: Pasteur Biziwungu.

    Evidence has surfaced which indicates that Hutu militias were rearmed (perhaps from France) and were preparing to attack Rwanda before a successful Rwandan pre-emptive attack on Lake Kivu on the Rwanda-Zaire border in late 1995.

    NYT Review of political turmoil in area by Donatella Lorch, November 26, 1995.
    "President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, entrenched in power for almost two decades, feels threatened by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, a former guerrilla commander who took power in a civil war. Mr. Moi has cut off relations with Rwanda and has accused Rwanda's leader General Kagame, another victorious civil war commander, of being a puppet of Uganda.

    "In recent months, Kenya has accused Uganda of backing rebel movements and hiring African mercenaries for an invasion. Uganda has in turn accused Kenya of massing troops on the border.

    "The Sudan meanwhile, has threatened to invade Uganda and Uganda has increased its support of southern Sudanese rebels.

    "Zaire has accused Rwanda of plotting bomb and mine explosions in the Hutu refugee camps. Kenya and Zaire each accused Uganda of trying to destabilize the entire region.

    "Burundi is rudderless and crumbling in a slowly grinding civil war." (NYT)

  5. Sierra Leone -- More than 100,000 have been killed in the civil war begun in 1991 by the Revolutionary United Front, a guerilla movement. Currently a military government heads the country. Mid-1993 population estimate: 4.5 million; more than half are refugees; 1.2 million internal refugees; tens of thousands of casualties; currently severe malnutrition; the countryside is empty because of the lack of security. According to press reports, South African mercenaries have been helping the military government fight the bush insurgency.

  6. Sudan: Ruled by General Omar el Bashir. Ongoing civil war between the largely Muslim north and the African south. The war is between the African Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) -- as well as simultaneously between Khartoum and the Nuba hillmen. The war has been on and off since 1995 but was heightened in 1983 when Khartoum imposed Islamic Sharia which effectively rendered the non- Moslem population of Southern Sudan to second class status. The non-Muslim population make up 35% of the country's 27.4 million people (mid-1993 estimate). Dr. Hasan al Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front (INF), is the key supporter of the Islamic Militia and is the defacto leader of Sudan.

    Deaths have been estimated at 1.5 million and nearly 3 million have been forced to flee their homes in the south and are living in squalid camps in Khartoum; there are 100,000 Sudanese refugees in Zaire and Central African Republic; (InterPress Third World News Agency -- IPS -- October - December '95).

    Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt are a regional grouping opposed to Khartoum's brand of militant Islam. There have been reports of U.S. military support for Sudan's opponents based on Washington's distaste for a regime it accuses of international terrorism (IPS, Moyiga Nduru, Dec. 6, '95).

  7. Sahel Pastoralists (Moors and Tauregs) vs. Black Africans

  8. Somalia -- Ongoing fighting between rival clans began in 1991. The notable clan leaders are Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid, Gen. Mohammed Said Hirsi and Mohammed Haji Aden -- a vice president in the government formed in 1995 by Gen. Aidid but rejected by many Somalis. Said Hirsi, known as Morgan, is a son-in-law of the former dictator, Mohammed Siad Barre (AP, in NYT, 12.12.95).

  9. Senegal -- secessionist armed insurrection of the Casamance

  10. Western Sahara -- The war began in 1975 when Spain pulled out of the region which it had colonized in 1904. Morocco had long claimed Western Sahara, while the Saharans' Polisario Front, which was formed in 1973, wanted independence. Fighting all but died away after a 1991 cease fire. However, Morocco has long hindered a referendum which would allow the Sahrawi to determine their future, while Algeria supports it and war could resume if no progress is made on the diplomatic front (NYT, December 8, 1995, Barbara Crossette).


  11. Columbia -- Population mid-1993: 34.9 million. President: Ernesto Samper. Rebel war ongoing since 1960. NYT reports massacres and brutal armed confrontations between guerillas, military and paramilitary forces in Uraba; 92 people reported killed from September-November 1995. Negotiations between guerrillas and government, begun in late 1994 have been stalled. Guerilla groups include Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, National Liberation Army and Popular Liberation Army (NYT, November 27, 1995, Pamela Mercer).

  12. Guatemala -- President: Ramon de Leon Carpio; war began in 1961 vs. leftist guerillas called the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit; 100,000 dead; 40,000 missing; (NYT, 27 August 95, by Larry Rohter). Activists give higher estimates: they say civilian deaths alone may be in the 150,000 - 200,000 range. A CIA coup against a democratically elected government led to military dictatorship in 1954.

  13. Mexico - mid-1993 population: 90 million. Rebellion in Mexican state of Chiapas by Mayan rebels, known as Zapatistas; began in January 1994. Estimated indigenous population in 1995: 7 million. President: Ernesto Zedillo.


  14. Algeria -- civil war; 40,000 - 50,000 killed since government annulled elections in 1992 that Muslim militants were poised to win. Algeria achieved independence in 1962. At that time nearly 2 million descendants of French settlers ("pieds noirs") returned to France as did 700,000 Algerians. Today there are about 5 million Muslims (of 75 million French population) living in France. France is providing about $1 billion to Algeria in loans and grants and importing about $1 billion worth of natural gas. (NYT, 25 Oct. 95, by Craig R. Whitney)

    Killings of journalists and others resumed after a brief lull after the November 16, 1995 re-election of President Liamine Zeroual who won with 61% of the vote.

  15. Afghanistan -- President Burhanuddin Rabbani is the leader of Shi'ite Jamait Islami party. Hostilities began with Russian intervention of 1979; Soviets left in April 92. Tens of thousands killed; hundreds of thousands of refugees.

    In January 1995, an Islamic militia, known as Taliban, apparently supported by Pakistan, appeared, and by March 1995 controlled about half the country.

    The siege of Kabul (pop. 750,000) began in Jan 94 by Taliban forces, mostly Sunni Pushtuns, the majority ethnic group that has traditionally provided Afghanistan's rulers. The Kabul govt is dominated by pro-Iranian Shi'ite, ethnic Tajiks, a minority in Afghanistan (NYT, 16 Oct. 95, John Burns).

    Iran fears that the Taliban wish to establish a base for anti-Iranian operations from Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and the United States are also backing the Taliban forces because they want to contain Iran. Russia and China have expressed support for the Kabul government of President Rabbani (IPS, November 95).

  16. Afghanistan - Tajikistan border --- civil war began in 1992; cross-border firefights often involving Russian troops. Negotiations began in April 1994. President Imamali Rakhmonov is the leader of the Tajik opposition forces.

  17. Turkey vs. Kurds -- Hostilities began in 1984 when Kurdish rebel forces known as the PKK took up their battle for autonomy or independence in the mainly Kurdish southeast. 18,000 killed, 2,000 Kurdish villages razed, hundreds of thousands (some say millions) displaced; a cost of an estimated $7 billion/yr.

    The U.S. provides billions in military aid to Turkey -- $5.1 billion over the last decade and about $120 million a year in economic aid. (Covert Action Quarterly, Fall '95 and NYT, 29 Oct. 95, by Celestine Bohlen.)

    In late December 1995 parliamentary elections, the Islamic Welfare Party under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan, beat out the secular center-right parties: the True Path Party and the Motherland Party. The Welfare Party (by Turkish law, Islam is not allowed in the name) won 159 seats to 133 for True Path under the leadership of Tansu Ciller, Prime Minister. The Motherland Party won 134 seats.

    President Suleyman Demirel has until mid-January 1996 to decide which party will form the new government. Most expect the center-right parties to form a shaky coaliton with the Social Democrats who have 75 deputies in the 550 member parliament or with the Republican Peoples Party who won 50 seats.

  18. Kurds vs. Iraqis and Iranians

  19. Shiites in Southern Iraq vs Iraqis -- The draining of the marshes in southern Iraq has already forced the relocation of thousands of Iraqis and serious ecological damage.

  20. Israel in South Lebanon. -- The Israeli occupation of their so-called "security zone" in Lebanon is opposed by the Party of God guerillas (Hezbollah is Arabic for Party of God). In December 1995 reports appeared that Shi'ite Amal forces may also be joining the fight against the Israelis.

    The earliest Israeli military interventions in southern Lebanon go back to 1975. Israel conducted a major incursion in 1978; and a full scale war in 1982 which resulted in an estimated 20,00 or more Palestinian and Lebanese deaths. Since 1982 Israel has occupied at least a portion of South Lebanon and declared the area its "security zone" contrary to a UN resolution. The security zone includes a portion of the Litani River and there is speculation that Israel may be diverting Litani River water for itself.

    Israeli incursions and occupation of Lebanon has created hundreds of thousands of refugees. According to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the purpose of the week long artillery, air and naval barrage of Southern Lebanon in July 93 which resulted in about 150 deaths and 350,000 refugees was to depopulate the area.

    The U.S. provides Israel with about $6 billion a year in economic and military aid, loan guarantees and arms transfers.

    EUROPE [map]

  21. Bosnia -- Former Yugoslavia -- Serbian occupation of Vojvodina (the formerly autonomous region between Serbia and Croatia) in July 1990 led to fighting with Croatia in August 1990 and a brief war with Slovenia in June 1991. Bosnia declared independence in March 1992 and siege of Sarajevo began in April 1992.

    Casualty estimates range from a low of 60,000 (George Kenny) to a high of more than 250,000+ deaths; 3.3 million refugees (NYT). The Center for Defense Information estimates 280,000 killed since 1992 and European Journal estimates that more than 60,000 childern alone have been killed (November 1995).

    Some refugee figures.

    500,000 Muslims and Croats have been evicted from Banja Luka area and the Banja Luka region found itself a depository of 300,000 Serb refugees. About 12,000 Muslims remain in Banja Luka area.

    The successful September 1995 Croatian attack on Krajina led to a new wave of 150,000 to 200,000 refugees (WarReport, Sept 95). 10,000 dead in Sarajevo (NYT, by Kit R. Roane, 11.2.95).

    The Bosnian accord, initialed in Dayton, Ohio on November 22, 1995 and signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, put at least a temporary end to the major hostilities. One of the flash points is likely to be the 80,000 separatists Serbs living in Serbian-held districts of Sarajevo led by Radovan Karadzic.

    Some 40,000 Serbs live in parts of Sarajevo controlled by the Muslim government and are committed to a multi-ethnic state (NYT, 12.7.95, Roger Cohen).

    The accord provides that 60,000 NATO troops including 20,000 Americans are to be positioned in Bosnia.

    Refugee resettlement plans: The first phase of coping with the refugees will deal with about half of the 2.7 million refugees in Bosnia living in temporary, sometimes difficult conditions, some for t heir fourth winter. Phase two will deal with the 463,000 displaced people and refugees in Croatia and 330,000 in Serbia, most of whom want to go back to Bosnia. The third phase will deal with about 700,000 Balkan refugees scattered in other countries, mostly in Europe, about half in Germany. (NYT, Chris Wren, 24 November '95)

    UN Report on Serb Atrocities

    According to the New York Times, the UN issued a report on November 29, 1995 "on atrocities in Bosnia in which ... Bosnian Serbs had been engaged in 'a consistent pattern of summary executions, rape, mass expulsions, arbitrary detentions, forced labor and large scale disappearances.'"

    "At least 5,000 people have been missing since the Bosnian Serbs overran Srebenica...on July 11, 1995. In Zepa, which was captured by the Bosnian Serbs on July 25,1995, UN observers reported large numbers of foreign mercenaries, among them Greeks and Russians.

    "The report says numerous paramilitary groups were present around Srebrenica when the enclave fell. Dutch soldiers identified the groups as the Drina Wolves, Seslj Militia, Specialna Policia, White Eagles, units of Krajina Serbs and troops commanded by Zeljko Raznatovic, who is known as Arkan" (NYT, 11.30.95, Barbara Crosette).

  22. Spain and Basque separatists known as E.T.A. (Basque Homeland and Liberty). More than 750 people have been killed and several thousand wounded since 1968 when E.T.A. began their fight for an independent nation in Spain's northern Basque provinces. More than 500 E.T.A. activists are in Spanish jails.


    [map] [map] NOTE: According to the SIPRI Yearbook for 1995, there are areas of conflict or tension in eight states or regions in the former Soviet Union with 3 classified as major armed conflicts.

  23. Russia vs. Chechen rebels -- Fighting began in December 1994; thousands killed, tens of thousands displaced. Partial peace accord signed in July 1995 did not end the fighting. In November 95, the NYT reported that shooting was common at night in Grozny and in the villages that ring the city. Hundreds more were killed and thousands fled December 1995 fighting in Gudermes, Chechnya's second largest city. The fighing was linked to rebel attempts to prevent Russia from holding Paliamentary elections in Chechnya.

    Russian head of State: Boris Yeltsin. Moscow backed head of Chechnya: Doku Zavgayev. Rebel leader: Gen. Dzhokhar M. Dudayev. Population of Russia: 148 million.

  24. Georgia (ex Soviet Republic); war with Abkhazian rebels began in 1993. Thousands died and hundreds of thousands displaced (NYT, 19 Oct. '95). Mid-93 population estimate: 5.5 million.

    SOUTH ASIA [map]

  25. Burma -- renamed Myanmar by the reigning military regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Committee (SLORC). Population 45 million. The Karen rebels have been fighting for autonomy since 1949 . Hundreds killed by the military in 1988. Popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won presidency in 1990 with over 80% of the vote; she was subsequently imprisoned by SLORC; released from 6 years' house arrest in July '95. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991;

    Tensions were raised in November 1995 when the NLD withdrew from talks on reforming the constitution protesting that the military government were allowing Suu Kyi's party only 15% of the seats at the Constitutional Convention.

  26. Cambodia -- Pol Pot controls about 50% of Cambodia (The Nation, October 2, '95). Some sources report ongoing fighting with units up to divisional strength; The New York Times, however, has described the fighting merely as "remnant bands on the loose" (Barbara Crossette, 12.4.95). The last Cambodian elections were held in 1993 and the next elections are scheduled for 1997. According to the Times, hopes for true multiparty elections are dying.

  27. Indian government vs. Muslim separatist rebel group, Al Faran in Kashmir. The fighting began in 1989. In November 1995 the New York Times reported rumors that Al Faran may actually be a front group for those in India's government who wish to discredit the Muslim nationalist movement.

    India's population mid-1995: 931 million; India represents over 16% of the world's population; fertility rate: 3.4 children per woman.

    India: Nuclear issues

    On 12.15.95, the NYT reported that evidence has surfaced of Indian government activity at their Pokaran test site in the Ragasthan desert which could mean an upcoming nuclear test. India's one and only nuclear test was conducted in 1974.

    According to Times reporter, Tim Wiener, observers speculate that the driving force behind the suspected testing may be the weakness of the Congress Party in the face of a serious challenge by the right-wing nationalist Hindu party. If India tests, Pakistan may test a nuclear device as well. Neither is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such testing could have a snowball effect and could jeopardize the signing of the comprehensive test ban treaty in 1996.

  28. India: Naga resistance in Nagaland -- high casualties

  29. Philippines -- guerrilla insurgency; head of state: Fidel V. Ramos. Population: 67 million; mid-1993 estimate: 64.6 million.

  30. Sri Lanka -- Tamils vs Sinhalese; fighting began in 1983; 36,000+ deaths. Head of state: President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. Government offensive against Tamils which began on October 17, 1995, had resulted in about 2,500 deaths and about 6,000 wounded by late November 1995. Tamil rebels have forced 120,000 - 300,000 population of Jaffna to flee in order to leave a deserted city to government forces (NYT, November 26, 1995).

    Estimated Sri Lankan 1993 population: 17.8 million; nearly three-quarters Sinhalese and Buddhist. The guerrilla organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, led by Vellupillai Prabhakaran, claims to represent 2. 2 million mostly Hindu Tamils in north and east. (from NYT, 27 October 95, by Barbara Crossette).

    According to one source, the Tamil/Sinhalese struggle masks the war between the Sinhalese elite and Sinhalese youth which has erupted on a regular basis since the sixties (the last one being the UNP VS. JVP conflicts of the mid-80s) and resulted in largely unreported killing of thousands, mostly students.


A United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (now called the Children's Emergency Fund) report issued in December 1995 entitled "State of the World's Children 1996", found that children have been the major victims of war. They report that in the last decade, 2 million children have been killed in wars; 4-5 million children have been disabled; 12 million children have been made homeless and one million orphaned (NYT, December 11, 1995, Barbara Crossette).


An estimated 500,000 children ["The Struggle" Dec. 95 gives the figure of 560,000] have died due to malnutrition, lack of potable water and disease due in part to the U.N. sanctions imposed in the wake of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 (NYT, December 11, 1995, Barbara Crossette).

NOTE: All mid-1993 population estimates are from "The State of the World Atlas" by Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal (1995) which uses the 1993 World Population Data Sheet.



I'd like to gratefully acknowledge the more than 15 people who have kindly responded to the first version in November with information and encouragement.
Comments, etc to rbleier@igc.org