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Volume 24 Number 2
23 July 2015

A broad spectrum of actors and institutions are involved in ensuring human security in Africa. They range from the traditional to the more irregular or radical. This issue of the African Security Review looks at some of the more unusual actors and approaches, as well as new and established threats in the field.

The youth is one group of actors that has risen in significance over the last few years – both as a catalyst for positive change and a source of instability. Abosede Babatunde examines youth uprisings as a catalyst for positive change. He examines the issues at the core of the youth uprisings that led to the ‘Arab Spring’ and the challenges to attaining durable political reform. Neil Kramm and Lindy Heinecken’s article looks at one small group of youth who have the potential to destabilise – young men and women who have been in the military and who need to reintegrate into civilian life.

If the criminal justice system is to be reformed so it can provide equal protection under the law and access to justice, there needs to be a collective understanding of what constitutes the ‘criminal justice system’. Oludayo Tade provides a different perspective in his article on traditional structures of crime control in Lagos, Nigeria. He argues that notwithstanding modern institutions such as the police, court processes and correctional facilities, many respondents in his study preferred traditional structures of crime control and punishment.

The role of private military and security companies in conflict situations and humanitarian assistance operations has been controversial. Chris Kwaja unpacks their use in Sudan (specifically Dafur), asking why they are involved in humanitarian assistance operations in this country and what the principles underlying their activities are. He draws attention to the link between humanitarian crises and interventions by private military and security companies.

The journal then turns to emerging trends in the field of human security. John-Mark Mutua asks whether incidents of uranium yellowcake trafficking in Africa pose the same threat as clandestine weapons development and nuclear terrorism by non-state actors. Mbekezeli Mkhize looks at the rise in local protests in post-apartheid South Africa. Although allowed by the constitution, protest action often leads to violence and property damage. Protests reflect government’s inability to live up to the expectations of marginalised and poor communities and are dealt with by an increasingly militant and brutal police force. Martin Ewi wraps up the issue with an analysis of Nigeria’s 2015 general election.

Romi Sigsworth (Editor)

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