Non-State Security Providers and Political Formation in Somalia

Fighters of the Ras Kimboni Brigade

Fighters of the Ras Kimboni Brigade, a Somali militia allied with the government. Photo: AMISOM.

Non-state security providers (NSSPs) in Somalia, often entrenched in clan identity politics and the pursuit of profit, are ubiquitous. Their prevalence undermines efforts by the Somali government to provide legitimate governance and security. Yet they are often the only reliable source of protection and so are used by neighborhoods, businesses, international organizations, and even politicians. NSSPs will thus remain a central component in the security landscape of Somalia for the foreseeable future. To mitigate their disruptiveness to state control, the Somali government must continue to engage and integrate NSSPs into the formal security sector by leveraging control of foreign aid and incentivizing integration with attractive wages.

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Security Topics: Stabilization of Fragile States