Since the 1990s, insurgencies in African states such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan have attracted attention from scholars and policy-makers as evidence of a new generation of warfare. Rather than fighting to replace existing states with more efficient alternatives, insurgents in these wars disrupt political order and hollow out states rather than fighting to replace or reform them. Their leaderships often lack cohesion. Their styles of fighting reflect this fragmented structure, an amalgam of ethnic militias, local gangs, defecting army units and criminal bands. They advertise no core ideology or comprehensive political programmes. In a marked contrast to Africa’s Maoist-style anti-colonial and anti-apartheid insurgents of the 1960s to the 1980s that devoted great effort to set up liberated zones and to mobilize and administer populations, these new insurgents neither claim that they represent large segments of the population nor put significant effort into seeking popular support for their objectives. Their actions are geared instead towards protecting and enriching their own members, usually at the expense of the security and material well-being of the people among whom they fight. Paul Collier explains how the combination of weak state institutions and a dearth of economic opportunities set the stage for insurgents that develop as a kind of criminal enterprise that serves the personal material interests of its members. Insurgent leaders in this context have little option but to appeal to the self-interest of recruits and tolerate uses of violence – looting, for example – that appear to be undisciplined and counterproductive in the Maoist version of insurgency. This kind of insurgent organization overwhelms potential leaders who attend to political organizing instead of prioritizing the quest for income to attract fighters and to buy weapons (Collier 2000). Support from the Diaspora and neighbouring states that use insurgents as proxies to meddle in affairs beyond their borders provides ready sources of income to self-interested insurgents. This external support protects insurgents from consequences of using violence in ways that impoverish people and make them less secure (Collier and Hoeffler 2004). Mary Kaldor explains that this shift in the nature of insurgents follows global economic and political changes producing a ‘revolution in the social relations of warfare’ (Kaldor 2001: 3). In her analysis, the criminal gangs, paramilitaries, mercenaries and other disparate groups that feature in these wars use violence to control new sources of income linked to changes in the global political economy such as skimming humanitarian aid and illicit trafficking of commodities such as drugs, diamonds and timber.