Mercy Fekadu Mulugeta

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy


Country of Origin: Ethiopia


Title of PhD Thesis

Small Arms and Security Governance

The Case of the Nyàngatom People in southwest Ethiopia



Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell

Dr. Ayalew Gebre




Eastern Africa is a home for an estimated 25 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Their economic, political and cultural way of life has been affected by several global and regional developments, among them, the global small arms trade. Assault rifles such as AK-47 have replaced arrows and bows, once the instrument of violence. Small arms have become part of offensive traditional practices (e.g. cattle raids) and defensive actions, like provision of security to one’s own family. So far, research focused on failed disarmaments and the role of arms in conflicts. This study will explore, primarily, what these arms have come to mean in the life of pastoral communities, particularly the Nyangatom people (found in southwestern Ethiopia). Additionally, this research will look at the dynamics of regional politics that has enabled the flow of arms in to pastoral communities. An in-depth study of the failed disarmaments, interviews and focused group discussions with the group under study will be instrumental in answering the main research question.



Academic Career

2012 to 2016

PhD Candidate in Global and Area Studies with a special emphasis on peace and security in Africa (Global and European  Studies Institute, University of Leipzig and Institute for Peace and Security Studies of Addis Ababa University)

Since 2011

Researcher at IPSS, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

2009 to 2011

M.A. in Peace and Security Studies, IPSS, AAU, Ethiopia

2004 to 2007

B.A. in Political Science and International Relations, AAU, Ethiopia


Research Topics/Interests

  • Sudan/ South Sudan
  • Pastoral conflicts and human security
  • Small arms and Light Weapons/Disarmament