Strategypage writes of the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria:
What Boko Haram fears most, next to air strikes, is not the security forces but the growing number of pro-government militias and local defense forces in the northeast. By late 2014 Boko Haram was regularly attacking towns or villages which had a lot of these volunteers. That led more civilians to join these groups. Officially called the Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force or CJTF), these volunteers initially received little material support from the government. In early 2013 Boko Haram began to notice that in Borno and Yobe states thousands of Moslem and Christian young men were enthusiastically joining the CJTF to provide security from Boko Haram violence and provide information to the security forces about who Boko Haram members were and where they were living. That trend continues and now the CJTF and self-defense groups in general have become the greatest threat to Boko Haram in rural areas as well as the cities. The CJTF frequently patrol remote areas and operate a growing network of trusted informants who can quickly phone in details on local Boko Haram activity.
Do read it all.
The government began supplying the militias and supporting them. The latter is important to keep the militias effective.
This stuff works.
Mind you, when the enemy is defeated these militias can evolve from self defense militias into death squads or mere gangs. So they do have to be monitored and eventually disbanded or pulled into the regular structure to keep them from becoming a different kind of threat.
But worries about the future possibilities of mis-use should not mean you fail to use a useful tool in the present.