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Table of contents

Chapter I
1.1. Background
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3. Objective of the Study
1.4. Research Questions
1.5. Research Methodology
1.6. Method and Source of Data
1.7. Significance of the Study
1.8. Organization of the Research
1.9. Scope and Limitation of the Study

Chapter II
Literature Review: Conceptual Framework and Theoretical Perspective
2.1. Literature Review
2.1.1. Private Military Actors and Conflict in Historical Context and Recent Wars
2.1.2. Private Military Actors/Mercenaries in Africa
2.1.3. PMSCs in Sierra Leone
2.1.4. PMSCs in Angola
2.1.5. The Emergence of PMSCs, their Impact on State Sovereignty and Military Functions
2.1.6. Some Factors that led to the Development of PMSCs after the Cold War in Africa
2.1.7. Manifestations of Privatization of Security in Africa
2.2. Conceptual Framework
2.2.1. Private Military Industry
2.2.2. Private Military Companies (PMCs)
2. 2. 3. Private Security Companies (PSCs)
2.2.4. Private Military Firms (PMFs)
2.2.5. Mercenary
2.3. War Making as a Sovereign Act and a Sign of Legitimate Actorhood in IR – A Theoretical Perspective

Chapter III
Contextualizing the Resurgence of Private Military and Security Companies in the Post-Cold War Period in Africa
3.1. Weak African Rulers and the Privatization of Security
3.2. The end of the Cold War and the Privatization of Security
3.3. Liberalization and the Process of State Formation in Africa as Contributing Factors for Privatization of Security
3.4. The Changing Nature of Warfare in Africa and Privatization of Security

Chapter IV
The Role of Private Military and Security Companies in the Sierra Leone and Angolan Conflicts
4.1. Sierra Leone
4.1.1. State Decay and Privatization of Security in Sierra Leone
4.1.2. The Conflict in Sierra Leone and the Role of PMSCs
4.2. Angola
4.2.1. Internal Strife and Privatization of Security in Angola
4.2.2. The Role of PMSCs in the Angolan Conflict
4.2.3. Other Private Military and Security Companies in Angola
4.3. Private Military Forces across the Conflict Divide in Sierra Leone and Angola
4.4. The Cost of Security in Sierra Leone and Angola

Chapter V
Challenges Posed by PMSCs and Responses to Security Privatization
5.1. Challenges Posed by Private Military and Security Companies in Africa
5.1.2. Privatization of Security and its Impact on State Sovereignty and the legitimate use of Force
5.1.3. Private Military and Security Companies and their Impact on Human Rights
5.1.4. Private Military and Security Companies and Exploitation (Looting) of Natural Resources
5.1.5. Private Military and Security Companies and Arms Proliferation
5.1.6. Private Military and Security Companies and Escalation of Conflicts
5.2. Responses to Privatization of Security

Chapter VI
Summary and Concluding Remarks


This thesis discusses the role and the involvement of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) in the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Angola. The involvement of PMSCs in the conflicts in question was fundamentally facilitated by state weakness and regime insecurity. Regimes in both countries played a crucial role in inviting foreign private military forces in the wake of rebellion against the regimes. The paper employed qualitative, explanatory and descriptive research methodology. The data gathering method utilized is secondary sources which include books, articles, official documents and other publications. The study’s main findings include: first, the involvement of PMSCs in the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Angola challenges (at least in the context of weak states in Africa), the traditional realist assumption in IR that the state is the exclusive actor that enjoys monopoly on legitimate use of force; second, in African conflicts in general and in the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Angola in particular the involvement of PMSCs is linked with the exploitation of strategic mineral resources such as diamonds, oil, coltan and others; third, though PMSCs are hired by their clients to end conflicts, the study shows that such entities in fact escalate conflicts; fourth, the study revealed that PMSCs hugely undermine state sovereignty by deploying a competitive and parallel structures of force within a single sovereign jurisdiction. It is assumed in the traditional parlance in IR and political science that conflict is a political process and thereby falls within the public sphere. However, privatization of security removes conflict from the public arena as events in Sierra Leone and Angola have shown. Thus regardless of the claim that PMSCs fill the security void in Africa where public security forces are inept, partial, or both, the involvement and the role of PMSCs in African conflicts in general and the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Angola in particular is a symptom of state failure in terms of provision of security to the people, protection of territory and resources. It is therefore believed that privatization of security in the form of PMSCs surrogates the state in Africa and has deleterious effect in one of the core responsibilities of the state.

Chapter I


1.1. Background

The chief foundations of all states, whether new, old, or mixed, are good laws and good arms. And as there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms, I say, therefore, that the arms by which a prince defends his possessions are either his own, or else mercenaries, or auxiliaries or mixed (Machiavelli, 1952:72). The mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous, and if any one supports his state by the arms of mercenaries, he will never stand firm or sure, as they are disunited, ambitious, without discipline, faithless, bold amongst friends, cowardly among enemies, they have no fear of God, and keep no faith with men (ibid.). The arrival of private military companies (PMCs) onto the international stage in the early 1990s suddenly made the question of what a mercenary was – and whether or not the world ought to be concerned - important once more (Percy, 2003).

The debate on the use of private security providers and services in Africa‟s conflicts and post-conflict situations has in the last decade grown in prominence within the broad field of security studies (Gumedze, 2009:1). This has also tremendously shaped the thinking of international lawyers as the involvement of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in African conflicts has had a significant impact on conflict resolution, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) (ibid., 2009). As conflicts continue to be more complex in many countries around the world, the use of PMSCs has also increased. The privatization of security has now become a global phenomenon. From the beginning of the 21st century the world has witnessed an accelerated breakdown of the nation-state‟s monopoly on violence, and the emergence of marketplace purveyors of armed forces (ibid., 2009:1; Shcreier and Caparini 2005).

The phenomenon of mercenaries - and therefore private military intervention - has a long history in Africa. Many will remember how Bob Denard, Jean Schramme, Mike Hoare, and other foreign ex-servicemen from the colonial powers carried out destabilization missions in different parts of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Those mercenaries were attracted to....

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