Peacekeeping abroad, trouble making at home: mutinies in West Africa

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Abstract

This article draws attention to a trend in which military deployments as part of peacekeeping missions have triggered army mutinies in some West African countries. It explains how participation in peacekeeping missions created new material grievances and a sense of injustice amongst the peacekeepers, which under certain conditions sparked domestic mutinies. These uprisings in West Africa follow a history of military disobedience in the region, and the article places them in the context of long-standing tensions within military organizations. Mutinies often symbolize and intensify divisions within armed forces, which can lead to further instability even after the mutiny is resolved. Therefore, it is important for those interested in building and maintaining effective militaries to understand the ways in which deployments and peacekeeping participation can contribute to unrest within the armed forces. The article draws on interviews with former mutineers, including peacekeepers, and others military personnel in West Africa, as well as media reporting, including public statements made by mutineers, academic writing, and archival research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-225
JournalAfrican Affairs
Volume114
Issue number455
Early online date17 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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