Military Engineering Unit and Armed Intimidation in Gabon: Professional Motivations of the Extorting Soldier

Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée, volume 22, issue 1, 2015. De Boeck.

Behaviors of intimidation correspond to individual motivations in a professional dynamic: promoting the military’s social condition and rising wages.

In 2012, Gabon deployed a military-engineering unit to supply the low-income areas of Libreville (Gabon’s capital city) with water. Military officials intimidate and extort the civil population.  This article reveals that the Gabonese soldiers’ behaviour originates from social and professional issues rather than political ones. The main focus is on the social condition of the non-commissioned members as a professional group distinct from their hierarchy. Therefore, the intimidation begins as an external frustration of a military troop in social despair. It then becomes a regular phenomenon in the military and authoritarian political system that places its fighting forces in direct competition.


Dr Axel Augé

Axel Augé is a senior lecturer at the University of Rennes II and on secondment to the Écoles […]