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Africa sees violent, deadly start to 2014; 'integrated conflict system' cited

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a very violent start to 2014, with raging conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic, as well as continued violence in Congo, and attacks in Somalia and Kenya.

The death tolls are huge and the individual incidents gruesome. One estimate says nearly 10,000 people have been killed in South Sudan in a month of warfare, while in neighboring Central African Republic combatants in Muslim-vs.-Christian battles have beheaded children.

J. Peter Pham, director of the Washington-based think tank Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, says that compared to decades past, Africa and its people are suffering from fewer conflicts today, but several recent outbreaks of violence are cause for concern. He says the conflicts also lack strong international peacekeeping.