Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Teresa Healy


The paper studies the attack conducted by the Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab in Garissa, north of Kenya, on April 2, 2015. In contrast to judgmental and narrow- minded media explanations which tended to dominate the debate after the attack, the present paper uses conflict theories in order to investigate the deep roots of violence. It questions how a group such as al-Shabaab has been able to emerge, to find support and to become a major actor in the Horn of Africa, and to some extent internationally. It draws on Basic Human Needs, Collective Psychology and Structural and Cultural Violence theories to demonstrate that the attack in Garissa is the manifestation of decades of structural, cultural and direct violence between communities, as well as between colonial and post-colonial governments in Kenya and Somalia. Understanding the deep causes of violence and its endorsement by a part of the population is a first step to transform the conflict. Studying the relationships between the different actors is important in order to understand the cycle of violence, and to think of ways to defuse it and to heal decades-long wounds.


African Studies | International and Area Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Image Location