Silencing the guns in Bamako and Lagos

Urban spaces have emerged as the new frontier for insecurity in West Africa, with urbanisation trends shaping criminality dynamics in the region.

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This study explores the complex relationships between urbanisation and transnational organised crime, focusing on how illicit arms shape urban violence and are leveraged by criminal groups. It maps the nexus between arms trafficking actors and criminal groups operating in other organised markets in urban contexts and proposes interventions that engage with diverse layers of urban governance and stakeholders in the cities. The study focuses on Bamako and Lagos as urban centres in which arms trafficking and urbanisation intersect.

This policy brief is based on a research report, Silencing the guns in cities: urbanisation and arms trafficking in Bamako and Lagos.

About the author

Oluwole Ojewale is the ENACT Regional Organised Crime Observatory (ROCO) coordinator for Central Africa, based in Dakar, Senegal. His research interests span transnational organised crime, urban governance, security, conflict and resilience. Before joining the ISS he headed the Research and Strategy Development Department at the CLEEN Foundation in Abuja, Nigeria.

Field interviews in Bamako and Lagos were coordinated by Allan Ngari.

Development partners
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office under the OCWAR-T project. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the German Federal Foreign Office. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
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