Violence against Civilians and Al Shabaab: Tactics of Internal Security and Distabilisation

Conflict event levels and reported fatalities fell slightly in Somalia in January. While violence overall has witnessed a gradual decline since a peak in July 2013, this has been punctuated by upswings in violence, and a concomitant increase in reported fatalities, suggesting an intensification of violent conflict (see Figure 1).…

Terrorism: A review of differences in definition

The existence of multiple, contrasting and even contradictory definitions and conceptualisations of terrorism in policy, legal frameworks and academic research is well-documented. The plethora of competing legal definitions has been likened to the Bermuda Triangle (Dedeoglu, 2003), and attempts to develop consensus around a single one, to ‘the quest for the Holy Grail’ (Levitt, 1986).…

A look at increasing violence against civilians in Zambia

Michael Sata won the presidency of Zambia in 2011 when his Patriotic Front (PF) unseated the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy which had held power for 20 years. Since assuming the presidency, Sata has been repeatedly accused of sponsoring political militias to silence and attack civilian opponents.…

What do the Mpeketoni attacks say about conflict in Kenya?

Both conflict events and reported fatalities increased in Kenya this month, with the most intense violence associated with an attack on civilians in Witu, Lamu island, in Kenya’s Coastal region. The attack incorporates several key complex dynamics in contemporary Kenyan political violence, each of which is worth unpacking in turn.…