How Do Ethnic Militias Perpetuate in Nigeria? A Micro-level Perspective on the Oodua People's Congress
Summary The paper discusses the recently promoted view that organized insurgent violence should either be conducted by activists bonded together by social capital ties or self-interested quasi-mercenaries, depending on the type of financial resources available to the group. We contrast this perspective with the study of an ethnic Nigerian militia, the Oodua People's Congress (OPC). It appears that the success of this militia over time was jointly sustained by important preexisting social connections and numerous opportunities for economic gains. The perpetuation of OPC, we argue, is ensured by a "moral economy" whose members enjoy self-insurance in an environment perceived as unsafe.
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