Ned Dalby is a senior research analyst with International Crisis Group and lead contributor to the new report, Double-Edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counterinsurgencies. He joins me to discuss the origin, operation, and demobilization of these groups, their role in counterinsurgency, and ultimately, what makes the reliance on vigilante groups by the government successful in some cases and not in others. Vigilante groups usually arise in weak states with deteriorating security situations in which locals feel compelled to take their security into their own hands. The state will often try to co-opt these militias, who are afforded a level of legitimacy in their communities that the military is not, at least initially, and thus have a distinct advantage in counterinsurgency operations. The reliance on vigilantes presents interesting questions for a state's sovereignty and their legitimate monopoly on the use of force. How the military and the state treat these groups will help determine both the success of the counterinsurgency and the prospects for the eventual demobilization of the vigilantes.
You can listen to my conversation with Ned here.