Author Biography

Håvard Haugstvedt is a PhD Research Fellow at the Department of Social Studies, University of Stavanger, and an affiliate at C-REX, Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo



Subject Area Keywords

Africa, Middle East, Nonstate actors, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Violent extremism


Non-state actors have been experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for two decades. This has become widely known over the 5 years, as both ISIS and the Houthis have adapted weaponized UAVs into their repertoires. As the Sahel and East Africa regions experience a rise in violence from non-state actors, and given that groups here are affiliated with groups in the Middle East, this paper seeks to explore the possibility and likelihood of weaponized UAVs being used on the battlefield in these regions. By utilizing both scholarly work and other reporting from these regions, this paper finds that there is a low risk of weaponized UAVs being adapted in these regions through organizational ties to groups in the Middle East. However, as UAVs are commercially available all over the world, groups with bomb-making experience and technical know-how in general may themselves develop local variations and adaptions of what Jihadist groups have done in the Middle East over the last decade.


I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, as well as colleagues at the Department of Social Studies, University of Stavanger, and at the Center for Research on Extremism (C- REX), at the University of Oslo, for valuable suggestions and insights.