Local Defence Force (Rwanda)

Country: Rwanda
Details of Formation: In 1999, the government began arming civilians to form local defence units. Its members were armed by the Rwandan military.
Details of Termination: In 2013, the government replaced the Local Defence Force with the District Administration Security Support Organ (Dasso), which is part of Rwanda’s official security apparatus.
Purpose: The Local Defence Force was created to support the police in protecting law and order. In addition to using police forces, the militia’s members were mostly civilians or ex-soldiers which makes there mobilization easier than recruiting more police members.
Organisation: The Local Defence Force was created by the government to support the police in maintaining law and order. They act on the local level and do not have a clear national leader (Human Rights Watch 2007)
Weapons and Training: The members were trained by the government because some of them were civilians without military experience. They received their arms from the Rwandan Armed Forces.
Size: One source reports that the militia had about 10,000 members.
Reason for Membership: Ex-soldiers were mobilized by the government to use their military experience and to join the Local Defence Force to protect their neighborhood. In addition, civilians were mobilized to protect their neighborhood.
Treatment of Civilians: The militia uses excessive violence against alleged criminals. Together with the police forces, they behave violently and arrest alleged criminals without trial (Human Rights Watch 2007).
Other Information: --
References: Human Rights Watch. 2007. “Police Killings of Detainees and the Imposition of Collective Punishments.”