THE ROLES OF COMMUNITIES IN THE EFFECTIVE REINTEGRATION OF VIOLENT EXTREMIST OFFENDERS IN THE LAKE CHAD BASIN COUNTRIES
Coulouris, Renee L
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This research paper examines the roles of communities in the effective reintegration of violent extremist offenders in the Lake Chad Basin countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. It is important to examine the effectiveness of reintegration in the Lake Chad Basin region, particularly because of its unique context in the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration field (DDR). This unique context is unlike traditional DDR environments because of the emerging need to reintegrate individuals during a fragile security environment with an ongoing counterterrorism campaign. This paper utilizes a mixed-methods approach by providing a case study on each of the countries’ community roles within reintegration and then by comparing and measuring the cases against one another and against a success and challenge indicator checklist. The goal of comparing these cases and measuring them against the checklists is to showcase the essential components of reintegration programs and the positive roles and pitfalls of communities that may be useful for future effective programming in this emerging field. The results of the case studies prove that communities have not been fully utilized within reintegration programs in the Lake Chad Basin region which has led to ineffective reintegration processes. However, communities in the region have played a large role within informal methods of reintegration. At the same time, communities have played a significant challenging role towards effective reintegration of Boko Haram violent extremist offenders. Based on the findings from the case studies, this paper also includes recommendations to inform of ways communities can be utilized to increase the effectiveness of reintegrating VEOs.