The case for drones in counter-insurgency operations in West African Sahel

Francis N. Okpaleke, Bernard U. Nwosu,, Rowland Chukwuma Okoli, Ezenwa E. Olumba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The security situation in the Sahel region has been deteriorating with a consistent increase in violence. Despite tens of thousands of international troops in the region for over a decade, little headway has been made in establishing government control over the territory. The ongoing multilateral and large-scale military operations in the region have employed a boots-on-the-ground strategy that has been largely ineffective in stamping out the insurgency. The paper advocates for a recalibrated counter-insurgency strategy predicated on drones’ heightened and consistent deployment for counterinsurgency operations in the West African Sahel. This is in response to France’s phased withdrawal from the region and the limited effectiveness of current multilateral military endeavours to quell the insurgency. The paper presents two related arguments hinged on the tactical utility of drones, drawing on the concept of ungoverned spaces as a theoretical foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican Security Review
Early online date11 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2023

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