UNAMID mitigates frictions between farmers, herders in North Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is undertaking a series of inter-community dialogues aimed at mitigating tension and deadly clashes between farmers and herders in North Darfur.

The dialogues are also to prevent future conflicts between the two groups in several localities in North Darfur, including Kabkabiya, Shangil Tobaya, Saraf Umra, Al Serief, Mellit and Kutum,  according to a UNAMID press statement, received here Tuesday,  by PANA.

The sessions, which began on 5 December and are scheduled to conclude on 27 December, are designed to provide a platform for open communication and constructive dialogue between farmers and herders, mostly nomadic communities, and to allow neutral third-party mediation between community leaders.

In addition, the fora will promote understanding and tolerance in conflict situations and enhance local ownership and advocacy on conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms.

It said that on 13 December, a workshop was held in Kutum locality, North Darfur, with representatives from the civil society, native administrative, national non-governmental organizations, internally-displaced persons, youth associations and the women’s union participating.

During the sessions, the groups, which consist of representatives from Alwaha and Kutum localities, exchanged views on some of the root causes of the conflict between the two groups, as well as on ways to engender peaceful coexistence and to promote culture of peace at community level.

Addressing the participants, the executive director of Alwaha and Kutum, Shaibon Kaounda, thanked UNAMID for its efforts in supporting peaceful coexistence and said that the process “requires participation of all community members in decision-making process and development strategies”.

Among the recommendations, the participants stressed the importance of disarmament of civilians, and empowerment of civil administration and local mechanisms to enable them to continue to perform their traditional role in conflict resolution.

UNAMID is supporting the development and implementation of local mediation plan in the five Darfur states, as part of its mandate to support local conflict resolution and the conduct of local mediation and reconciliation between communities at grass root level.

PANA notes that the decade-long conflict in Darfur was spurred by conflict between farmers and herders over grazing areas and water pools.

With scarcity of grazing areas, partially due to desert creep in the 1980s that shrunk the green areas in the region, the two sectors of the society found themselves in constant frictions which subsequently flared into an all-out war in the region.

With the humanitarian situation worsening and hundreds of thousands of civilians made refugees in their own homelands, the UN and African Union, after several attempts to end the war between rebels and the central government, sought to bring a hybrid force to act as a buffer zone and help cultivate the culture of peace within the local Darfurians communities.
-0- PANA MO/VAO 18Dec2012

18 december 2012 18:15:17

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