Models of African Policing:
Construction and Integration
In both Ethiopia and Eritrea, the new regimes were formed from reformist insurgencies that incorporated the insurgents' own organizations into the new governments and their policing systems. Whereas the rejection of the previous system's excesses resulted in the conversion (and to a degree continuity) of the police in Ethiopia, in Eritrea it produced a new force.
The construction of an original police system is atypical; international intervention, for instance, is more likely to result in the improvement or reconstruction (as in Angola and Namibia) of a force than its outright creation. But the example of Eritrea shows that construction can occur if a new state is internationally acknowledged, particularly after an unambiguous military victory.
The Eritrean force directly reflects the political environment in Eritrea rather than external influences. Yet at the same time it is important because it provides additional evidence for linking case-specific police systems to the conventionalities of both policing and order. It shows that the practicalities of policing limit the options available to even new forces.
The capture of Asmara, the provincial capital, and the Red Sea port of Massawa (Ethiopia's only direct access to the sea) in 1991 left the guerrilla insurgent group known as the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) victorious after a thirty-year armed struggle for the right to selfdetermination. 1 Political agreement was quickly reached, partly so as to
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Publication information: Book title: Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization. Contributors: Alice Hills - Author. Publisher: Lynne Rienner. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 115.
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