after political independence - and especially in the context of accelerating globalisation that followed the end of the cold war -, most african countries have been affected by political instability, sometimes culminating in violent civil wars and massacres. in the current scientific debates, the wars of the 1990？s and 2000？s have been singled out and characterised by some authors as ？new wars？. however, there is considerable controversy surrounding this distinction between ？old？ and ？new？ wars. the causes of african conflicts are complex and multidimensional. from a conflict prevention and resolution perspective, it is essential that our understanding of african conflicts be improved through further analyses of the root causes of conflict, as well as of their complex and multiple interactions over time. this paper discusses some of the main doctrinal and theoretical perspectives on this topic, with particular reference to the cases of the sudan, c？te d？ivoire and uganda. the linkages between war, hunger and food insecurity, and gender relations are also examined, namely as regards the situation of women combatants.