chapter  5
Spatial Patterns of Violence against Civilians
ByHanne Fjelde, Lisa Hultman, Margareta Sollenberg, Ralph Sundberg
Pages 12

Direct and deliberate violence against civilians is a prevalent phenomenon. Such violence is observed across a large and varied set of countries and perpetrated by a wide range of actors, including state forces, rebel organizations, pro-government militias, and vigilante groups. Previous discussions of civilian targeting have pointed to important patterns, in particular the higher prevalence of civilian victimization in Africa relative to other regions. Examining cross-national variation, violence against civilians is also more common in conjunction with armed conflict (Fjelde, Hultman and Sollenberg 2016). If we are interested in understanding the relationship between civilian victimization and armed conflict, however, sub-national variation should be considered as well. Systematic studies of individual conflicts, such as the Greek civil war (Kalyvas 2006) and the Spanish civil war (Balcells 2010), have highlighted spatial variations within conflicts and demonstrated the usefulness of exploring determinants of violence at the local level. A few studies have explored spatial variation in violence against civilians in an African context (e.g., Fjelde and Hultman 2014; Raleigh 2012). With the recent release by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) of georeferenced event data on the location of violence against civilians, we are now able to examine geographical patterns globally for the period 2005–2013.