This report argues that any attempt to reform state security institutions as a means of improving overall security must start with a thorough investigation of the current security context. However, during this process of security mapping, informal actors cannot be neglected. Often this very sector not only exists, but also effectively functions and continuously adapts to contextual realities. One must therefore consider the informal networks of security provision and the recognition of non-state security actors that ordinary citizens, in addition to formal security providers, must navigate on an everyday basis. In doing so it also becomes easier to identify the hidden links between these formal and informal networks that at various levels interact,
complement, or even compete with each other. The focus of this report is to explore and describe informal security organizations (mainly community watch and vigilante groups) in modern-day Liberia, a country that at the moment is undergoing security sector reform with major assistance from the international community.
Download the publication in PDF format from the Folke Bernadotte Academy website: Understanding Vigilantism - Informal Security Providers and Security Sector Reform in Liberia.