n African Security Review - An analysis and comparison of armed groups in Somalia : essay

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Protracted state collapse in Somalia has led to a multiplication and diversifi cation of armed groups. We can speak of at least fi ve types of armed group: faction, warlord, business, court, and Islamic militias. These groups differ in important ways, yet often are simply classifi ed as 'militia' or 'warlord'. This essay seeks to add a measure of analytical rigour to the classifi cation of armed groups and provides a comparison using a framework of purpose, motivations, logistics, and command, control and communication. It concludes with some observations about the importance of making these distinctions when formulating policy for this region.


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