This article examines the issue of peace and restraint within ongoing conflicts.
While the vast majority of the literature on
civil wars in Africa concentrates on drivers of conflict and instances of violence, there are zones of peace where locally peace processes have developed despite conflicts around them. These spaces have been neglected in both the academic literature and the major data sets on conflict and war, which mostly focuses on the belligerent, or sometimes the victims. The literature that does exist is concentrated in Latin America (especially Colombia) rather than Africa. This paper records six different episodes in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone and seeks to understand the reasons why these spaces were able to maintain some level of peace. The paper discusses the practicalities of exercising peace on the ground and the implications for subsequent peacebuilding, along with drawing conclusions about differences in the nature of warfare regionally.