n Conflict Trends - Understanding civil militia groups in Somalia

Volume 2016, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Somalia has experienced state failure, collapse and disintegration since the fall of the Mohamed Siad Barre military regime in 1991. Since then, the country has been the subject of numerous peace processes aimed at the creation of a central government, without any success. This absence of a central government means that Somalia has failed to meet the basic functions associated with the West-phalian state system of providing common goods for its population, developing and promulgating laws of the country, and providing security for its population through the use of legitimate force. The failure, collapse and eventual disintegration of the Somali state since 1991 facilitated the emergence of civil militia groups, often aligned to various political clan groupings. These militia groups operate under the pretext of providing security to their clansmen and, in the process, have created what scholars describe as a security dilemma, where clans arm themselves in anticipation of attacks by rival clans.

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