The West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism (WACCE) has noted with deep concern the renewed ethnic clashes between Konkombas and Chokosis in the Chereponi District of the Northern Region which has resulted in the death of some unconfirmed number of person whiles dozens have sustained severe gunshots and machete wounds.
Over 100 houses and a number of properties have been vandalized and set ablaze while some residents have fled to neighboring Togo for safety.
WACCE in a statement issued by its Executive Director, Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, has appealed to both parties to cease the fire and resort to dialogue in order to build realistic peace.
What began as an individual dispute has been transformed into what might become an outright ethnic
conflict if not dealt with promptly and thoroughly.
“Given the divisive and adversarial relationship that has been allowed to persist due to the existence of the prolonged unresolved conflict, high youth unemployment and the absence of security personnel in the area, it is no revelation that individual disputes such as this could easily escalate to assume inter-ethnic or inter-group character with a tendency to serve as a conveyor belt to large scale violence,” the statement said.
The statement further added that, “Following our Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) programs in the conflict zones in 2018 throughout the country, we discovered that the continuous existence of unresolved chieftaincy and ethnic disputes in many parts of the country has deepened fissures amongst parties in contention and has a proclivity to serve as a staircase to large scale violence and terrorism. Chieftaincy and ethnic violence will remain the single biggest source of violence and fatality with the over 352 unresolved conflicts currently nationwide until adequate, genuine and sustainable efforts are committed into resolving and building a sustainable culture of peace among disputing parties.”
“We commend the imposition of curfew in the area but also call on government to immediately address the immediate causes and to quickly ensure the reengagement of dialogue between the feuding parties and institute peace building mechanisms that are supportive of peaceful coexistence among the people. This will allow for all voices to participate in shaping future peace of the areas concerned,” the statement indicated.