Online | 01 December 2021

Security Dilemmas in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Community-Based Armed Groups

U.S. Institute of Peace


Community-based armed groups in Sub-Saharan Africa tend to emerge where official security actors lack reach, resources or trust from the public. Often formed along socioeconomic, ethnic or political lines, these groups depend on popular support and often cooperate with state security forces or other armed groups, presenting a complex challenge to communities, governments and development practitioners. With escalating conflicts across the continent, we need to better understand how community-based armed groups impact the wider conflict ecosystems in Sub-Saharan Africa: Are they part of the problem or the solution? And could hybrid security — where non-state actors co-produce justice and security — be a viable alternative to state governance? 

Since 2018, the RESOLVE Network has been researching the complex interactions between armed groups, civilians, state actors and international security — with particular attention to discerning women’s roles, agency and choices in conflict. Join USIP and the RESOLVE Network for a virtual conversation that’s part of the sixth annual RESOLVE Global Forum Series. The discussion will examine community-driven security and the role of local armed groups in conflict ecosystems, as well as look at women’s contributions to formal and informal community-based security, conflict resolution, governance and rule of law mechanisms.


Dr. Alastair Reedwelcoming remarks
Senior Expert and Executive Director, RESOLVE Network

Dr. Lauren Van Metremoderator 
Senior Advisor, Peace and Security, National Democratic Institute

Dr. Jakana Thomas
Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California San Diego

Rida Lyammouri
Associate Fellow, Clingendael Institute; Senior Fellow, Policy Center for the New South 




For more on the RESOLVE Global Forum Series, follow us on Twitter at @resolvenet, and join the conversation with #RESOLVEForum.

2021 Global Forum: Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism (REMVE) 
2020 Global Forum: Violent Extremism in 2020 and Beyond
2019 Global Forum: Resetting Priorities to Address Violent Extremist Threats
2018 Global Forum: Innovative Approaches to Understanding Violent Extremism
2017 Global Forum: Confronting the Next Wave of Violent Extremism
2016 Global Forum: Violent Extremism: Setting Priorities for Research

RESOLVE Network/ Better Research. Informed Practice. Improved Policy on Violent Extremism.