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Ungoverned Spaces and the Survival of Terrorist Groups in Africa: A Case Study of the Lords Resistance Army

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Ugandas location in a region plagued by armed conflict entails ongoing security challenges. The situation becomes even more complicated when the various armed groupsinsurgencies enjoy the breakdown of security, limited governance, and lack of control of vast territories where they operate. This thesis examines the role of ungoverned spaces and how they facilitate the survival of terrorist groups in Africa. It further seeks to evaluate policy prescriptions available to ameliorate the problem of ungoverned spaces.To answer these questions, this thesis uses the Lords Resistance Army as a case study and analyzes other violent extremist groups-Al-Shabaab, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, and Boko Haram-in relation to ungoverned spaces. The study reveals that instability emanating from ungoverned spaces is contagious and can recur even when it appears to have been contained. Although interventions through bilateral, regional, and multilateral mechanisms may offer some orderliness in ungoverned spaces, the real solution may lie in addressing the latent causes of violence and instability. These measures include embracing democratic practices and economic empowerment, and strengthening government institutions so that states are functional-and spaces are governed.

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