In Mobility, Mobilization, and Counter/Insurgency, Daniel Agbiboa takes African insurgencies back to their routes by providing a transdisciplinary perspective on the centrality of mobility to the strategies of insurgents, state security forces, and civilian populations caught in conflict. Drawing on one of the world’s deadliest insurgencies, the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, this well-crafted and richly nuanced intervention offers fresh insights into how violent extremist organizations exploit forms of local immobility and border porosity to mobilize new recruits, how the state’s “war on terror” mobilizes against so-called subversive mobilities, and how civilian populations in transit are treated as could-be terrorists and subjected to extortion and state-sanctioned violence en route. The multiple and intersecting flows analyzed here upend Eurocentric representations of movement in Africa as one-sided, anarchic, and dangerous. Instead, this book underscores the contradictions of mobility in conflict zones as simultaneously a resource and a burden. Intellectually rigorous yet clear, engaging, and accessible, Mobility, Mobilization, and Counter/Insurgency is a seminal contribution that lays bare the neglected linkages between conflict and mobility.
Daniel E. Agbiboa is Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.