Australian Counter Terrorism Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


1st Australian Counter Terrorism Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 30th November 2010


Pseudo gangs form the steely side of Hearts and Minds and were used with great effect in counter-insurgency campaigns in Kenya (1952-60) Malaya (1948-60) and Rhodesia (1964-1979). Although the use of pseudo gangs was not new to counter-insurgency tactics, with the British using a similar tactic in the Boer war (1899-1902), the use of such gangs was certainly perfected during these later campaigns producing good results. The Kenya Police Special Branch re-instigated this concept, developing its use during the ‘Emergency’. The principal concept was to ‘turn’ or co-opt insurgents through a series of inducements to change sides and join the counter insurgency as part of the Government forces but not as regular forces. Rather the co-opted kept their actual identities or their ‘assumed’ identities and return to the conflict areas as part of a ‘gang’, which would be made to appear as if it is still fighting for the insurgents. This ‘pseudo’ gang would then rejoin or flush out the opposition and either capture, gain further intelligence or eliminate them. Based on my ongoing PhD research into these three campaigns, this paper will briefly outline an alternative model that could be developed for current conflicts against insurgents.