Are civilians strategic actors in civil conflict, or do they simply take direction from armed groups? In this paper, we explore the question of what, if any, role civilians play during conflict by examining the most likely case for a key civilian role, in civil conflicts in territory rich in natural resources. Why do civilians in resource-rich conflicts cooperate with armed groups in these conflicts? In this study, we explore these questions using original survey data that explores both the attitudes of civilians toward armed groups, but also the information held by civilians and their ability to transmit it to militants. We explore the attitudes and behaviors of civilians, and what role civilians can play and why they might choose to cooperate with militants during conflict. The study area is the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where civilians share information about oil industry activities with armed groups.
Blair, G.; Imai, K. Civilians and the Strategic Use of Information during Conflict in Resource-Rich Territory (IGC Working Paper). International Growth Centre (IGC), London, UK (2013) 27 pp.