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Informal Governance of Non-State Armed Groups in the Sahel

Toros, Harmonie (2019) Informal Governance of Non-State Armed Groups in the Sahel. Project report. NATO Strategic Direction South, Naples, Italy (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:77553)

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Key Findings: Non-state armed groups, including violent extremist organizations, self-defense militias, and criminal gangs, are governance providers to local populations in the Sahel to a much greater degree than previously reported in the so-called “ungoverned spaces.” NSAGs provide four key forms of governance: security; justice; political and economic administration; social support and enforcement of social rules, across large sections of Mali, but also in Burkina Faso and Niger. Through this informal governance, NSAGs garner support and legitimacy from local leaders and communities at large. Current Responses: State and international responses have overall ignored this NSAG informal governance and have pursued: 1. a counter-terrorism strategy that is hampered by its failure to take into account the deeply embedded nature of NSAGs in local communities; and 2. a central statebuilding strategy that has so far largely failed to replace or even undermine NSAG legitimacy as governance providers. Relevance to NATO: Any involvement of international organizations in the Sahel needs to go beyond a strict counter-terrorism understanding of NSAGs, including VEOs. Furthermore, local and international actors on the ground warned that any additional involvement should avoid duplicating and undermining existing activities. Thus, any international involvement in the Sahel needs to take a broader vision of NSAG activities – beyond simply seeing them as “terrorists” or “criminal gangs” – and needs to be carefully coordinated with national and international partners.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Project report)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Harmonie Toros
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 22:37 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 12:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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