Military‐advisory groups and African security: Privatized peacekeeping?

Kevin A. O'Brien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Private security firms are growing in influence throughout Africa and other regions of the world; generally composed of former special forces personnel from Western or Southern African countries, they increasingly include strong capabilities in combat firepower and support. While most often they are involved in the re‐training and re‐equipping of national armies in these countries, they have also been involved in combat operations to secure and stabilize strategic mineral or oil‐producing regions from rebel movements, or have assisted rebel movements in overthrowing the national government in order to ensure a better deal for the mining and oil firms with which they cooperate. The increasing activity of these private military‐advisory groups in regional security has raised the issue of whether such firms could replace the role of the international community in regional peacekeeping operations, or whether they are evocative of the continuing evolution of the mercenary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-105
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998


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