Electoral Violence

In mid-October 2015, Central African Republic (CAR), Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso will each hold elections. As Figure 1 shows, levels of violence during electoral periods are high in Ivory Coast: for example, the general elections in November 2010 resulted in a six-month civil war between militias of former President Laurent Gbagbo and the contested winner Alassane Ouattara.…

The Geographic Profile of Violence against Civilians during Peacekeeping Deployment — Containment and Diffusion

Investigating the ability of peacekeeping (PK) missions to reduce levels of violence against civilians (VAC) requires an assessment of whether these deployments control the spread of anti-civilian actions. Previous studies contend that PK operations prevent contagion and reduce the scope of rebel violence by reducing their external shelters and restricting their ability to move (Beardsley, 2010; Beardsley and Gleditsch, 2015).…

‘Good Governance’ and Conflict in Africa

The World Governance Indicators (WGI), produced by Kaufmann, Kraay, and Mastruzzi (2014), measure governance defined as “the set of traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised; this includes (1) the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced, (2) the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies, and (3) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.”…

The Exportation of Ugandan Rebel Violence: A Comparison of the Allied Democratic Forces and Lord’s Resistance Army

In the past few weeks, the Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF, formerly the Alliance of Democratic Forces – National Army for the Liberation of Uganda, ADF-NALU) has experienced several setbacks. Dozens of its soldiers have been killed or captured, including senior personnel, while its leader, Jamil Mukulu, was arrested in Tanzania at the end of April (Wall Street Journal, 2015).…

The Targeting of Children in Conflict Zones, Part 1: General Trends

Violence against children is a conscious strategy employed by armed groups within conflict contexts. When children are targeted or killed, it is often in an attempt to instill terror in populations, or to reaffirm brutality and gain (global) notoriety, given that the targeting of children is meant to send a message to (adult) adversaries and/or the international community at-large.…

Dynamic Conflicts and Static Promises: Shifting Advantage, the Political Marketplace and Broken Ceasefires

In the past half-decade, multiple peace agreements and ceasefires have been implemented in various African countries to solve ongoing political conflicts on the continent. The most notable examples during this period are Mali, Central African Republic and South Sudan.…

Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence, Part 2: Where, When, and by Whom is This Tactic Used?

Sexual violence (e.g. rape) is a conscious strategy frequently employed by armed groups to torture and humiliate opponents, terrify individuals, destroy societies though inciting flight from a territory, and to reaffirm aggression and brutality, specifically through an expression of domination (Bastick et al.,…

Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence, Part 1: Trends Across Africa

Sexual violence as a weapon of political conflict is a serious, present-day atrocity affecting millions of people (primarily women and girls)[1] with grave health implications, both physical and psychological (Bastick, Grimm, and Kunz, 2007; UN, 2015).…

Rebel Groups of the DRC and Attacks on Civilians

When looking at violence against civilians in DR-Congo from 2009-2014, rebel groups have been responsible for the majority of fatalities in these violent events (Figure 1). ACLED regards ‘rebels’ as armed agents in opposition to the established government with aims to overthrow the regime, or establish a separate state; in short, these groups have national political aims.…