Category Archives: Civil War

African Peace Militaries War, Peace and Democratic Governance


About the Editor

David J. Francis is the most recent Head of Department of Peace Studies and is currently Director of the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS), at the University of Bradford, UK. He is author/editor of eight books, including US Strategy in Africa (ed. Routledge, 2010).


This book provides a critical understanding of the emerging role of African militaries in peacetime democratic Africa.

This book departs from the dominant perspective which simply presents the military as an ‘enemy’ of democracy because of the history and legacy of unending military coup d’états and interventions in civilian politics. In the context of Africa, the military has been blamed or largely held responsible for instigating wars, armed conflicts, political violence, poverty and underdevelopment due to bad governance and mismanagement of the state. Drawing from diverse case studies across Africa, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt, this volume presents the argument that though the military has played a negative, and sometimes, destructive role in undermining constitutional rule and the overthrow of democratic civilian governments, the same military, now operating in a changed global environment, is making effort to support the development of democracy and democratic consolidation as well as remain subjected to civilian democratic oversight and control. Notwithstanding, the real challenge for this emerging trend of African peace militaries is the extent to which they are able to fulfil, on a predictable and consistent basis, their constitutional mandate to defend the people against ‘elected autocrats’ in Africa who try to use the military to perpetuate themselves in power.

This work fills a critical gap in the literature and will be of much interest to students of African security and politics, peace and conflict studies, security studies and IR in general.

Table of Contents

1. African Militaries in War, Peace and Support for Democratic Development, David J. Francis

2. The Military in Nigeria: War, peace and support for democratic governance, Oshita Oshita

3. The Rwanda Defence Force: from Genocide to Peace and Democratic Consolidation, Marco Jowell

4. Military in Uganda: war, peace and support for democratic consolidation, Eric Awich Ochen

5. Military Response to Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria: Implications for Peace, Security and Democracy in the Lake Chad Basin, Kenneth C. Omeje

6. African Solutions to Western Problems: Western-sponsored Training Programmes for African Militaries: impact on Peace and Democratic Consolidation, David Chuter

7. African Standby Force: Challenges and Opportunities for support of Democracy in Africa, Kasaija Phillip Apuuli

8. African Militaries, Security Sector Reform and Peace Dividends: a case study of Ethiopia’s post-1998 Defence Reform Experience and impact on Democratic Development, Ann Fitz-Gerald, Paula MacPhee & Ian Westerman

9. Egypt: the Military in War, Peace and Democratic Development, Joseph Lansana Kormoh


JEFCAS Seminar Series: “Eritrea- Repression and Resistance”

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date:  Wed 22nd March 2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Martin Plaut (Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

Martin Plaut

About Martin Plaut:

Martin Plaut is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of   Commonwealth Studies and author of “Understanding Eritrea” published by Hurst October 2016. The book explains how the country operates and why President Isaias Afwerki has retained in power. His main research interests and publication include Civil Rights, Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, International Relations, Modern History, Political Institutions, Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism. Mr. Plaut research focus is Africa in general, South Africa and Horn of Africa in Particular.


Promoting Peace Education in Somalia Universities: Experiences and insights

Somalia has been a failed state and without a central government for many years. War has traumatised Somali society, and destroyed its national institutions, infrastructure, social foundations positive ethos, communal trust, community spirit, solidarity, sense of hope and prevented meaningful dialogue. Somalia’s youth have grown up in a country where violence is the norm. This, combined with poverty and the complex problems of a post-conflict society has resulted in a large number of disenfranchised youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and criminal groups. This project aims to inspire Somali youth and restore a sense of hope, confidence and trust through a process of positive dialogue, reconciliation, building healthy relationships and learning non-violent communication methods.


About Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar & Khadijo Osman: Yusuf Sheikh Omar holds PhD from La Trobe University. He is a writer, a poet, peace activist. He worked as a teacher at Victoria University, as a researcher at University of Melbourne and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health focusing on Khat Use in the Horn of African community in Victoria and on Emotional wellbeing of the Horn of African Muslim men. His research focuses on social integration of young Somalis living in the western countries. Dr Khadijo Mohamed Osman has a PhD from University College London, School of Pharmacy, UK.


Annual Peace Studies & International Development Conference: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa

The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.

The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.

Conference cluster themes include:

1) Natural Resources and Conflict

2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding

3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development

4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus

5) Regional Integration, Security and Development

6) Africa and the Rest of the World
The conference is open to doctoral students and early career scholars, researchers and practitioners. Potential participants and paper presenters are required to submit an Abstract of 200 – 300 words on or before 15th November 2016 to:    
All shortlisted participants will be required to submit the first draft of their papers at least two months before the conference. The conference is expected to result in a co-edited book (Lead Editor: Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow, John & Elnora Ferguson Centre of African Studies, University of Bradford). Kindly note that all short-listed participants will be responsible for the full-cost of their participation, including visa, travels, accommodation and subsistence.

For full details on the conference: conference-call-oct-2016-revised-version-1

End of the Apocalypse? Hunting the FDLR

[Image credit: Washington Post_militia-facebook1.jpg]

During the trial of Théoneste Bagosora, the prosecution made potent reference to the ‘apocalypse’ this former military leader was involved in planning. For good or ill this notion of utter and irredeemable destruction characterized the genocide in Rwanda. This description has been fomented through popular Western representations, journalistic cum academic-ish writing, or even contemporary memorialization by the Rwandan government and Western NGOs that facilitate particular narratives of the genocide. To be sure, the violence was horrific in its specific intensity and inter-personalization. This has resulted, though, in an enduring characterization of ex-FAR, Interahamwe, (and the other occasionally “Hutu” aligned militias in the eastern DRC- be it for strategically economic or political reasons) and now FDLR, as the Great Lakes Region’s “prime evil”. For many in the region, especially within Rwanda, “FDLR” is a call to action, intervention and justice. Inasmuch the ex-FAR and Interahamwe posed a strong security threat to Rwanda immediately following the genocide, this amalgamation, or violent franchise, has settled itself firmly into the political and economic geography of the eastern provinces in the DRC. Destabilization and foreign intervention into this region has served only to entrench the growth and transformation of this force(s) into the FDLR as something quite different than what it was in 1994.

Recent operations against the Burundian Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) demonstrate the complexity of routing out an economically and socially embedded armed group. Likewise, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), once Ugandan rebel group unified with former Idi-Amin forces out of Uganda, this somewhat multinational armed corporation, is now 60% Congolese and funded by illicit mining and other more legitimate business activities. Despite being alluded to as another Islamic terror group (noting the past involvement of Khartoum and Islamist funding), politico-religious ideology plays little part in the continued workings of this organization. In fact, the FDLR, FNL and ADF demonstrate that the consequence of decades of conflict and a broken state that informal militarism has become a viable occupation. Among those arrested following the ADF’s Beni massacres in late 2014, some were were recognized as former M23 fighters, still disaffected, some just out of work. Joint FARDC and MONUSCO operations against the FNL were not terminal in routing out the group, and the overall impact remains similarly unclear. Operations against the FDLR may prove to be an even less productive situation, with Kinshasa dragging its feet on defining their involvement. In these cases the most persistent and serious problem remains the same: how to engage a socially, economically embedded group when civilians locally and within are most likely to bear the burden of military operations, FARDC violence, and further destabilization of the area.

It is quite likely that attempts to finally put to bed the “apocalypse” will only serve to drive further conflict, and civilian deaths and suffering as collateral damage. If a genocide against Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese and Banyamulenge Hutu was commenced under the auspices of border security and regional control in the “War of Liberation”, it could be added to by the continued massacre of civilians and the destabilization of the area. The latter’s outcome has been and will probably be again the muddying and disruption of local politics, increases in illicit industry and mobilization against localized representations and perceptions of the Hutu or Tutsi ‘Other’.


Habibou Bangré, ‘Massacres highlight the complexity of violence in DRC’s Beni Territory,’ IRIN

Enough Project, ‘Attacks in Beni, eastern Congo. Part 1: A surge in violence fuels civilian discontent’

Odora-Obote Alex, ‘The Rwandan genocide: A reply to Herman and Peterson,’ Pambazuka News

Christoph Vogel, ‘Who is going after FDLR and why not?,’

Rene C Mugenzi, ‘FDLR disarmament delays: Another untold story,’ Pambazuka News

Caroline Hellyer, ‘UN and DRC Forces Prepare for War,’ Al Jazeera

Lindsay Scorgie, ‘Peripheral Pariah or Regional Rebel? The Allied Democratic Forces and the Uganda/Congo Borderland,’ The Round Table 100

Judith Verweijen, ‘Understanding the recent Operations Against the FNL/Nzabampema,’ Congo Siasa