Credit: Julie Kubal

I am a researcher, writer and a father of three. I work and write on armed groups, security sector reform and related conflict issues, especially in East and Central Africa. I have written about rebels, armies, corruption, displacement, poaching and trafficking of wild animals, among other things. My writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, the BBC, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Africa Report, African Arguments and the Journal of East African Studies.

I am the author of ‘When the Walking Defeats You: One Man’s Journey as Joseph Kony’s Bodyguard,’ (Zed Books, 2016), and a contributor to ‘Making Sense of the Central African Republic,’ (Carayannis and Lombardi eds., Zed Books, July 2015).

I hold a BA in Ancient and Modern History from Oxford University’s Saint John’s College and an MA in Public Policy/International Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

For more on me see here. “Ledio Cakaj *09’s hardscrabble youth — escaping communist Albania as a teen after multiple attempts and living illegally in several European countries — provided some insight during his years of field research on guerilla groups that use child soldiers. In the Albania of his youth, he says, “some of my friends turned to weapons. It was not nearly the same as in Burundi or Uganda, but I wasn’t completely unaware.”