On Thursday 12th September 2019, traditional leaders (Kanuri and Fulani) living along the Komadougou River around the Lake Chad Basin area and the oasis basins in Niger’s Diffa region, signed a Commitment which seeks to prevent conflict between their respective communities.
The Commitment is the result of a three-month mediation process initiated by the Nigerien authorities and supported by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). It was signed in Diffa by eighteen traditional leaders as well as the region’s Governor. It aims to end inter-communal tensions which have caused, since 2016, the death of many people, the deterioration of the relations between farmers and herders, as well as the arrest and the detention of several persons.
The tensions, which originate from a struggle for access to natural resources, currently affect eleven municipalities in the Diffa region. Since December 2018, tensions have increased and this has raised concerns that they may escalate into communal conflicts.
Through this Commitment, the parties have pledged to:
- Promote peaceful cohabitation and national unity within their respective communities;
- Ensure that the existing legislation regulating access to shared natural resources is respected;
- Condemn all acts which may lead to the weakening of the area’s social cohesion;
- Encourage community leaders to commit themselves to peace through the dissemination of messages of cohesion and appeasement.
“It is important that communities continue the dialogue among themselves to ensure the implementation and the sustainability of this Commitment. Its signing will not put an immediate end to inter-communal violence, but it will provide a sound basis on which the communities and their leaders can rely to settle their disputes in a negotiated manner.” said Abdelkader Sidibé, HD’s Head of Mission for the Sahel.
The mediation process has mobilized Prefects, Mayors, traditional leaders and representatives from state services as well as socio-professional organisations to address the tensions. HD intends to continue its efforts by supporting a follow-up committee which was set up during the signing ceremony.
This Commitment is part of HD’s ongoing efforts to prevent and resolve inter-communal conflict in Niger. HD began working on the initiative in 2017 in support of Niger’s National Crisis Recovery Strategy in the Diffa region.
HD would like to express its gratitude to the European Union for its support for its activities in the region.
A copy of the Diffa Declaration of Commitment is available here.
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