What We're Reading

February 2023 | Territoriality as a Method for Understanding Armed Groups in Kenya and Strengthening Policy Responses

This month, RESOLVE highlights recommended readings from our Policy Note, Territoriality as a Method for Understanding Armed Groups in Kenya and Strengthening Policy Responses. Author Clifford Collins Omondi Okwany explores the characteristics of community-based armed groups (CBAGs) unique to the Kenyan context through a comparison of local CBAGs with other nonstate armed groups, particularly violent extremist organizations (VEOs). In doing so, the author introduces the concept of territoriality—the degree to which government and security agents are able to monopolize political, social, and security control of spaces—and suggests that both CBAGs and VEOs are most likely to thrive in Kenya under conditions of semi-territoriality, where state authority sometimes shifts fluidly from strong to weak depending on capacity or interest. This What We’re Reading digest includes works recommended by the author to give background on concepts expanded upon within the Policy Note.


Countering Violent Extremism

Boga, H. Launch of Action Plan for CVE Kilifi County. 2017.

Hansen, S. J., S. Lid, and C. C. O. Okwany, Countering Violent Extremism in Somalia and Kenya: Actors. USAID, 2019.

Khalil, J. and M. Zeuthen. Countering Violent Extremism and Risk Reduction. London: RUSI, 2016.

Matthews, Lieutenant Colonel Earl G, and Paul Rexton Kan. “Cutting Off the Spigot: A New Strategy for Combating Al-Shabaab.” Student Research Project, Army War College, 2016.

Ndung’u, I., U. Salifu, and R. Sigsworth. Violent Extremism in Kenya-Why Women Are a Priority. Washington, DC: Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 2017.

Okwany, O. “Countering Violent Extremism in the Horn of Africa: How international interventions influence the Security of Civilians.” Africa Amani Journal 3, no. 1 (2020).

Ruteere, M. and P. Mutahi. Confronting Violent Extremism in Kenya Debates, Ideas, and Challenges. Nairobi: Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies, 2018.


Radicalization and Deradicalization

De Waal, A. Islamism and its Enemies in the Horn of Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.

Hansen, S. J. Horn, Sahel, and Rift: Fault-lines of the African Jihad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Koehler, Daniel. Understanding Deradicalization: Methods, Tools, and Programs for Countering Violent Extremism. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Ndzovu, H. J. Kenya’s Jihadi Clerics: Formulation of a “Liberation Theology” and the Challenge to Secular Power. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 38 (2018): 360–371.

Okwany, C. C. O. Kenya’s Foreign Policy towards Somalia: A Contribution to Insecurity. Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, 2016.


The Nature of CBAGs and Effect of Security strategies in the Horn of Africa

Anderson, D. M. “Vigilantes, Violence and the Politics of Public Order in Kenya.” African Affairs 101 (2002): 531–555.

Bryden, Matt. The Decline and Fall of Al Shabaab, Think Again. Kenya: Sahan, 2015.

Donnelly, P. G. Wedded to Warfare: Forced Marriage in Rebel Groups. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Tufts University, 2019.

Kagwanja, Peter Mwangi. “Facing Mount Kenya or Facing Mecca? The Mungiki, Ethnic Violence and the Politics of the Moi Succession in Kenya, 1987–2002.” African Affairs 102 no. 406 (2003): 25–49.

Knchr. Are We Under Siege? The State Of Security In Kenya. An occupational Report. Kenya: Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, 2014.

Mwakimako, Hassan, and Justin Willis. “Islam, Politics and Violence on the Kenyan Coast.” Observatoire des Enjeux Politiques et Sécuritaires dans la Corne de l’Afrique 27, 2014.

Ndzovu, Hassan. Muslims in Kenyan Politics. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2014.

Schuberth, Moritz. The Challenge of Community-based Armed Groups: Towards a Conceptualization of Militias, Gangs, and Vigilantes. Contemporary Security Policy 36, (2015): 296–320.

Schuberth, Moritz. “Hybrid Security Governance, Post-election Violence and the Legitimacy of Community-based Armed Groups in Urban Kenya.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 12, no. 2 (2018): 386–404.

Van Stapele, N. “‘We Are Not Kenyans’: Extra-judicial Killings, Manhood, and Citizenship in Mathare, a Nairobi Ghetto.” Conflict, Security & Development 16, no. 4 (2016): 301–325.


Community Policing

Brodgen, Mike, and Preeti Nijhar. Community Policing: National and International Models and Approaches: Willan Pub. 2005.

Hansen, Stig Jarle. “One Size Fits All? Adjusting Policing to Local Circumstances.” Norwegian University of Life Sciences Department of International Environment and Development Studies, 2019. https://ict4copmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/7.-one-size-fits-al….

Lid, S., and C. C. O. Okwany. Designing Community Policing Models: The Relevance of Political and Security Factors. 2019. https://communitypolicing.eu/2019/11/11/designing-community-policing-mo….

Lid, S., and C. C. O. Okwany. “Protecting the Citizenry—or an Instrument for Surveillance? The Development of Community-oriented Policing in Kenya.” Journal of Human Security 16, no. 2 (2020): 44–54.

Nyborg, Ingrid LP. “Emerging Perspectives on Post-Conflict Police-Community Relations.” Journal of Human Security 15, no. 2 (2019).

Okwany, Clifford Collins Omondi. “Community-Policing in Kenya; A Strategy for Counter Violent Extremism.”In 13th International Conference, 2020.



Sack, R. D. Human Territoriality: Its theory and History, CUP Archive, 1986.

Hansen, S. J. One Size Fits All? Adjusting policing to local circumstances [Online]. Aas: Norwegian University of Life Sciences Department of International Environment and Development Studies, 2019. https://ict4copmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/7.-one-size-fits-al….

Okwany, Clifford Collins Omondi, and Bilhah Awino Akoko. “The Effect of Kenya’s Ontological (in) security in the Context of the Horn of Africa.” In 13th International Conference, 2020.