Justice and security

Negotiating security provisioning in a hybrid political order: the case of the Arrow Boys in Western Equatoria, South Sudan


This paper discusses the emergence of a local defence force, the Arrow Boys, in Western Equatoria State in response to the threats posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, in a context where the support provided by the state security forces is considered to be inadequate by the local population. The defence force that was put in place led to a series of negotiations between politicians and local leaders supporting the Arrow Boys and the national authorities of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Drawing from theories on negotiated statehood, this paper argues that in a hybrid political order negotiations about security involve interrelated questions about the relevance of external security threats, who is able and allowed to take action against those threats and according to which norms and rules. It is through negotiations on these issues that practices of state mediation take shape.

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