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The Sub-Saharan Plague: Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Mano River Basin

posted on 12.01.2017, 05:07 by Michael-David Krause
This thesis offers an investigation into the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Mano River Basin; a sub-region of West Africa in which the nations of Côte d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia share both common boarders and a common history of civil conflict fuelled by an abundant and largely unregulated supply of small arms. Specifically, this thesis answers the question of why SALW are so prevalent in the Mano River Basin. Though the Mano River Basin and West Africa in general have featured heavily in political discourse and research pertaining to development, the causes of conflict and the conditions for peace in the sub-region, there has, to date, been no significant study undertaken that offers an explanation as to why the SALW that undermine human security in the Mano River continue to circulate with such freedom and with so little impediment. This thesis seeks to fill this void, through a qualitative analysis of credible secondary sources that focuses, where possible, on the accounts of those men, women and children of the Mano River who have felt and who continue to feel the terrible impact of conflict fuelled by SALW each and every day.
   The findings of this research indicate that the prevalence of SALW in the Mano River Basin can largely be attributed to three key factors: the weakness of state apparatuses and civil institutions within the sub-region; the lack of a cohesive, legally binding instrument that addresses issues of small arms supply and demand equitably; and the inadequacy of the post-conflict programming hitherto implemented in the sub-region. Above all, this thesis finds that contrary to the opinions of some within the field of political science generally and arms-control more specifically, the continuing and pervasive presence of SALW remains a clear and present threat to the maintenance of sustainable peace in the Mano River Basin.


Principal supervisor

Remy Davison

Additional supervisor 1

Andrew Butfoy

Additional supervisor 2

Ben Rich

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Social and Political Sciences

Campus location



Faculty of Arts

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