The Rise of Radical and Asymmetric Armed Insurgents in the Central African Sub-Region: A Causal Analysis

This policy brief investigated the recent surge of armed conflict in the central African sub-region. There is a particular focus on the causes of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Though most post-colonial states on the African continent have experienced some form of conflict or another, the current insurgency in the central African sub-region, including Nigeria, has taken on new dimensions in the past decade. The bestial manner in which Boko Haram has carried out most of its acts, especially against Christians and government institutions in Nigeria, begs for a more thorough approach towards quelling this insurrection. The fact that atrocities have also been committed against Muslims dispels the notion that Boko Haram is a radical fundamental Islamic group. The insecurity caused by Boko Haram has spread into northern Cameroon and southern Chad as well. This policy brief examines the causes of this insurrection as well as others in the form of, for instance, the recent sectarian violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), and proposes possible policy directions which the governments in the sub-region can take to address the crisis. Building on reports on two field trips to the sub-region, it goes on to analyse the causes of the armed conflict, which has spiralled out of its traditional location and is threatening the security of the entire sub-region. The unleashing of suppressed ethnic and regional ambitions has necessitated the adoption of novel strategies through which to address these forms of armed conflict. Generally asymmetric in nature, they have proved intractable and will need new forms of strategies to contain them.