from Africa in Transition

Podcast: Vigilante Groups and Countering Insurgencies in Africa

Kamajors were trained and armed to protect their homelands from the Revolutionary United Front rebels and undisciplined elements of the Sierra Leone military who they accuse of looting and committing atrocities against them. June 15, 1997 Corinne Dufka/Reuters

February 8, 2018

Kamajors were trained and armed to protect their homelands from the Revolutionary United Front rebels and undisciplined elements of the Sierra Leone military who they accuse of looting and committing atrocities against them. June 15, 1997 Corinne Dufka/Reuters
Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Military Operations

Sierra Leone

Nigeria

Uganda

Ned Dalby is a senior research analyst with International Crisis Group and lead contributor to the new report, Double-Edged Sword: Vigilantes in African CounterinsurgenciesHe 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.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Military Operations

Sierra Leone

Nigeria

Uganda

Creative Commons
Creative Commons: Some rights reserved.
Close
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License.
View License Detail
Close