Often depicted as “Islamic terrorists”, jihadist insurgent governance has rarely been systematically researched in the academic literature. In this seminar, NUPI researcher Natasja Rupesinghe will discuss what the research tells us about how jihadists govern and why their governance differs not only between different groups but also within the same group.

Jihadists may not always need to control territory, develop formal institutions or provide consistent public services to govern the population. To illustrate these points, Rupesinghe draws on two case studies from her newly published report and her ongoing doctoral research. She discusses the case of northern Mali, where a coalition of jihadist groups affiliated to Al Qaeda tried to develop a more territorially based Islamic state between 2012-2013. In addition, she will discuss the case of Central Mali, where jihadist insurgents in contrast have progressively since 2015 developed remote rule from the bush, establishing social control, limited protection and introducing their version of sharia in rural areas.

The seminar is lead by research professor Morten Bøås, and is hosted by Consortium for Research on Terrorism and International Crime in collaboration with the RCN-supported project Jihadist Governance in the Sahel (JIGOV-Sahel).

Speakers bio:

Natasja Rupesinghe is a PhD fellow in the Peace, Conflict and Development Research Group at NUPI. She is also a DPhil candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford. Natasja’s research interests include conflict, civilian agency in contexts of armed violence, international peacebuilding and stabilisation operations in Africa. Her PhD investigates dynamics of jihadist insurgent mobilisation and community-led resistance in the Sahel. Her project is part of an international, NUPI-led research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council called “Jihadist Insurgent Governance in the Sahel”.