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UNAMID mitigates frictions between farmers and herders in North Darfur

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
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EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, December 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is undertaking a series of inter-community dialogues aimed at mitigating tensions and deadly clashes between farmers and herders as well as preventing future conflicts between these two groups in several localities in North Darfur, including Kabkabiya, Shangil Tobaya, Saraf Umra, Al Serief, Mellit and Kutum.

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 forums promote understanding and tolerance in conflict situations and enhance local ownership and advocacy on conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms.

On 13 December, a workshop was held in Kutum locality, North Darfur, with the participation of representatives from civil society, native administrative, national nongovernmental organizations, internally displaced persons, youth associations and the women's union.

During the session, the groups, which consist of representatives from Alwaha and Kutum localities, were able to exchange 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 this process “requires participation of all community members in decision-making process and development strategies.”

Among the recommendations, the participants stressed on 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.