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n Conflict Trends - The motivations of warlords and the role of militias in the Central African Republic

Volume 2015, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818

Abstract


Warlords and their accompanying militias have become a normalised, if not macabre, part of the African sociopolitical landscape. There is a general sense that warlords, militias and armed non-state actors do not form part of the political environment and that the government alone possesses the legitimate use of violence. In reality, militias form part of the normative political landscape in Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, central Asia and Latin America. While some warlords are not necessarily interested in usurping national political leadership through the use of militias, they challenge, obstruct and undermine institutional structures to suit their interests. Warlords question the legitimacy and defensive abilities of the existing government, yet their objectives and goals are diverse. Often their motivations are ideological, in seeking to bring about changes in their social and political recognition, while others seek economic (re)distribution or wealth accumulation, and many more have territorial interests that do not include the well-being of populations or contribute to political stability. Through the use of militias, warlords are linked to - and beneficiaries of - criminal activities that exploit and enslave rural-based civilians to extract natural and mineral resources. Whatever their goals, militias and warlords interact and coalesce to exploit opportunities within a particular time frame - but this behaviour and formation is located within prevailing traditional notions.

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/content/accordc/2015/4/EJC185604
2015-01-01
2019-10-20

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