Explaining Violence in Tillabéri: Insurgent Appropriation of Local Grievances?
The Tillabéri region in Niger has quickly lapsed into a state of violence and come under the control of ‘violent entrepreneurs’ – that is, non-state armed actors possessing some kind of political agenda, which is implemented in tandem with different types of income-generating activities. Violent entrepreneurs rule by force and violence, but they also distribute resources, provide some level of order and offer protection to (at least parts of) the population in the areas they control, or attempt to control. In many local communities in peripheral areas of the Sahel, these violent entrepreneurs have a stronger presence than international community actors and their national allies. This situation is partly the result of spill-over effects from the war in Mali and local herder-farmer conflicts, but the key factors are the ability of jihadi insurgents to appropriate local grievances and the failure of the state to resist this.
Keywords: insurgencies, violence, governance, enabling environment, state failure