With the terrorist group Al-Shabaab coming forward and taking responsibility for the recent Westgate Attack in Nairobi, the debate over the implications for security across the region has been rejuvenated. Shadrack W. Nasong'o's analyzes these through several lenses: doubts about the efficiency of the Kenyan intelligence and security agencies, Kenya's continued military presence in Somalia, the recruitment of non-Somali East Africans among Al-Shabaab, and the desperate nature of this specific attack in light of Al-Shabaab's own defeat within Somalia.
Essays present critical analysis and debate on a pressing issue in African peacebuilding.
The Westgate siege affirms an observation made by many concerned Kenyans over the years, and more fervently since March: that there is a nexus between the high levels of insecurity in the country and the operational weaknesses of our security forces. This paper looks inward at the state of Kenya's security system and lessons that can be learned from the Westgate siege.
This article illustrates the scope and magnitude of threats within Africa by focusing on drug- trafficking, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), and terrorism and will offer suggestions for effectively combating them and promoting peace and security within the continent.
The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the richest regions in the country, with diverse mineral deposits and vast arable lands. Even more than the rest of the country, however, this region has been ravaged by widespread war, sexual brutality against girls and women, theft of natural resources, and ongoing […]
Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: The Importance of Documentation in Postwar Education and Reconciliationby Proscovia Svärd
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) are temporarily established to investigate and document war atrocities committed against civilian populations1This article is based on a presentation I made at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability. They promote reconciliation between erstwhile enemies, as well as victims and perpetrators, and […]
The frequent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is part of a series of interlinked, complex conflicts1F. Reyntjens, The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 13. encompassing the African Great Lakes region. The DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda all appear to be connected by geographical and […]
From Ethnic Violence to Seeds of Peace: Pastoralists, Youth, and Intercommunity Peacebuilding in Northwestern Kenyaby Willis Okumu
Introduction Northwestern Kenya has been a theatre of violent conflict pitting the Pokot, Samburu, and Turkana communities against one another in a fierce and deadly competition. This has been catalyzed by diminishing pasture and water resources, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, political incitement, disputes over land and ethnic boundaries, the absence of […]
After controlling Goma for 11 days, M23 has now left the city. This is, unfortunately, not the end of the conflict. Not only must a more lasting settlement be reached, but what happened when the Congolese army (FARDC) ran away and the world’s largest peacekeeping force, the United Nations Organization Stabilizing Mission in the Democratic […]
Partnership peacekeeping involves official or unofficial attempts by multiple actors to coordinate the objectives of their peace operations. In Africa, the last two decades have seen partnership peacekeeping become more and more common. This is the result of several interrelated trends, but perhaps foremost among them is the widespread recognition that no single international organization has either a monopoly on peacekeeping or the capabilities to deal with Africa’s conflict-management challenges alone.
In the momentous Security Council debate that took place in January 2012 on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, rebuked African members on the Council for suggesting that it formally mandate the African Union (AU) to take the lead role in maintaining peace and security […]