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The Dangers of Disconnection: Oscillations in Political Violence on Lake Chad


Narrations on fragility and resilience in the Sahel paint a picture about the region’s inherent ungovernability that lead to consider an endless state- and peace-building process as the most feasible governance solution. Everyday practices of violent entrepreneurship, coalescing with inter-community and land-tenure conflicts, now inform social relations and are transforming moral economies around Lake Chad. While competition over territory suitable for farming, grazing and fishing has intensified, dispute-settlement practices organised by community-level authorities have proven ineffective and lacking the necessary means to respond to the encroachment of a wide range of interests claimed by increasingly powerful actors. Meanwhile, communities organised in self-defence militias are undergoing a process of progressive militarisation that tends to normalise violence and legitimise extra-judicial vigilante justice, further empowering capital-endowed arms suppliers gravitating in the jihadi galaxy, such as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Keywords: Lake Chad, conflicts, natural resources, governance, Islamic State