Peace, profit or plunder? The privatisation of security in war-torn African societies

Much has been said on the narrow field of mercenaries, but less has been researched on the context in which this phenomenon occurs. It is to address the broader spectrum of this complex problem that the Institute for Security Studies and the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security undertook a collaborative project over more than eighteen months that has now culminated in the publication of this book. It aims to contribute to an understanding of the trend towards the privatisation of security — and even of war — in Africa within its wider context.

The book first deals with globalisation and the growth of the private security industry in Africa (Peter Lock); the crisis in external response (Mark Malan); and the collapse of the African state (Richard Cornwell). These chapters are followed by case studies of three companies: Executive Outcomes (Khareen Pech); Military Professional Resources, Incorporated (Jakkie Cilliers and Ian Douglas); and Gurkha Security Guards Limited (Alex Vines). The case studies serve to highlight the nature of the operations and the impact of such experiences on particular countries which are discussed in subsequent chapters, namely Angola (Sean Cleary); and Sierra Leone (Ian Douglas). The second last chapter (Yves Sandoz) places the increased prevalence of the private security industry within the context of international humanitarian law. The final chapter (Cilliers and Cornwell) attempts to identify the underlying causal themes evident in Africa and to provide a broad policy response to the growing trend towards the privatisation and commercialisation of security and war in Africa.

Edited by: Jakkie Cilliers and Douglas Fraser

Development partners
This publication was made possible by the Swedish Government, the MacArthur Foundation and the Government of Canada.
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