Militancy and Violence in West Africa: Reflecting on Radicaliation, Comparing Contexts, and Evaluating Effectiveness of Preventive Policies

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: War Studies


Africa has been at the forefront of discussions on Islamic radicalisation, as the weak socio-economic and political structures in the continent have been irresistible to global radical movements looking for targets to attack western interests. West Africa seems particularly vulnerable, largely because of the region’s increasing importance to global resource politics, the expanding exposure of its Islamic groups to radical external influences, and the probable involvement of radical Islamic groups in sub-regional transnational crimes like money laundering, drugs and illegal trade in mineral resources.

Using four key countries: Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana as case studies, this project looks at radicalisation of Muslims in West Africa. Specifically, the project investigates the causes of Muslim "radicalisation", including their changing manifestations; interrogates the nature of the doctrines espoused; ascertains the recruitment bases of these organizations; determines the effectiveness of the measures these countries have put in place to meet the challenges of a possible crisis emanating from violent radicalisation; and investigates the likelihood of Islamic ‘radicalisation’ in the region having global ramifications. On completion, it is envisaged that the project will add to the literature on faith-based violence, while also addressing the interests and concerns of academics and practitioners.


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Silberfein M (1988) The role of a small town in rural development: A Sierra Leone case study in Studies In Comparative International Development