Reading State through humanitarian a perspective: Boko Haram "ruralities war" and population displacement in the Lake Chad region

Tatiana Smirnova (CESSMA (Paris-Diderot-INALCO-IRD))
Claude Mbowou (Paris 1 pantheon Sorbonne)
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

By focusing on massive population movements in the Lake Chad region, the panel proposes to analyze the war on Boko Haram from the perspective of interaction between States and humanitarian organizations embedded in different political national histories on violence and population control.

Long abstract:

Since 2011, Boko Haram attacks have resulted in the unprecedented displacement of more than two million people in the four border countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria involved in the war against Boko Haram. The majority of these people live outside humanitarian camps, in the rural areas with poor accessibility, dispersed in local villages or gathering on spontaneous sites, scattered and extremely precarious. Specific conditions of the war with no defined front line, internal and cross-border circulation—suggest a possibility of confusion between displaced people and armed enemy. In this situation, the security concerns tend to categorize population on good, bad or suspected victims. This has an effect on the way the humanitarian assistance may be provided, thus worsening the already perilous conditions of the population. Furthermore, located in more secured areas, the humanitarian organizations are brought to delegate their operations to local and State actors. This configuration contributes to progressively redefine historical fields of competence between States and humanitarian organizations working in the area. How do these dynamics help to understand what is at stake in those "ruralities" war? The panel welcomes papers that examine field practices of different actors, institutional and informal connections between States and humanitarian organizations, as well as the role of religious issues in this war. Contributions that take into consideration the historical trajectory of States (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria) in terms of their relation to violence, population control and humanitarian aid will be appreciated.