Tag Archives: Africa

Caravan of peace in Senegal: The kings of Oussouye and Sine spread the good word


An article by Alioune Badara in Le Quotidien

The Diola and Serer communities want to put culture and joking cousinhood at the service of peace. To implement this vision, Maa Sinig Niokhobaye Diouf Fatou Diène, the King of Sine, visited Maan Sibiloumbaye Diédhiou, the King of Oussouye. As part of the strengthening of ties of brotherhood and cohabitation, the kings of Oussouye and Sine initiated a caravan for peace. Diolas and Sérères took advantage of this visit to deepen the bonds of cousinhood, which constitute a social cement.

This is a trip for a good cause. The Serer and Diola communities want to support the State in promoting the culture of peace in Senegal. Following the establishment of a joint committee in November 2022 in Fimela, located in the Fatick region, to prepare for the visit of the King of Sine to the King of Oussouye, in order to strengthen the ties between the two, a cultural caravan for peace was organized. At the head of the caravan is Maa Sinig Niokhobaye Diouf Fatou Diène, the king of Sine, accompanied by Jaraaf and other members of the royal institution of Sine. They left Diakhao to visit Maan Sibiloumbaye Diedhiou, the King of Oussouye.

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(Click here for the French original of this article)

Question related to this article:


Can traditional leaders serve a culture of peace?

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The caravan was officially started in Fatick before the Governance by the authorities of the region. The royal institution of Sine specifieD that, “The Maa Sinig-Bu Badjum Ayi Cultural Peace Caravan provides an opportunity to harness the vast potential of Senegambia’s cultural and natural heritage, to strengthen social cohesion and the fight against poverty, and to promote sustainable development. at the base. This cultural caravan for peace, designed to benefit the entire Nation, aims to facilitate the synergy between state decisions, local initiatives and community actions, for the achievement of development objectives on a democratic and consensual basis.”

After a warm welcome in Oussouye, the kings of Sine and Oussouye invited the two communities to perpetuate these meetings, but also to look into the future of their communities, the role they can play in the development of the country. . Moreover, in his speech during the official ceremony held at the royal court of Oussouye, Maa Sinig Niokhobaye Diouf Fatou Diène, the king of Sine, returned to the very strong moments with their Diola cousins. “We communed together. It is an old tradition that we have perpetuated between the members of the two communities who are cousins. We found this relationship well maintained by our grandfathers, we have continued to maintain these links today.”

Echoing these words, the King of Oussouye confirmed the words of his peer. He also praised the centuries-old relationship that exists between the two communities. This caravan was also an opportunity for the two communities to show their multiple cultural facets. Through a cultural evening in the public square of Oussouye, Sérères and Diolas unveiled an artistic program that was also a traditional show.

In Diola and Serer mythology, Aguène and Diambogne were two sisters who once took a canoe to cross the Gambia River. But, their boat split in two, causing their separation. According to some historians, this legend begins in Ndakhonga, where the boat left for the high seas before it broke in two. One took the direction of the South, Aguène, the mother of the Diolas. And the other, that of the North, Diambogne, the mother of the Serers. This legend is today the foundation of the pleasant cousinage between Diolas and Sérères, cement of a peaceful cohabitation between the two communities.

Angola Debates The Women’s Role In Building Peace And Democracy


An article from the African Media Agency

The Angolan vice-president, Esperança da Costa, will open this Thursday, May 25, the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, in an event that will also involve, as speakers, like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (former President of the Republic of Liberia), Epsy Campbell Barr – former Vice President of Costa Rica (Member of the UNHCR Permanent Forum for People of African Descent) and Zahira Virani (Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System Nations in Angola).

Video of the event

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, which takes place over two days (May 25th and 26th, at the Hotel Intercontinental Miramar), is an event that focuses on women’s struggle for equality, emancipation, continental development for Peace and Democracy, part of the Luanda Biennial – Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, which is a joint initiative between the Government of Angola, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) and the African Union (AU).

Operatively coordinated by the Minister of State for Social Action, Dalva Ringote Allen, the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, which takes place under the theme “Technological Innovation and Education for the Achievement of Gender Equality” and with the motto “Innovation Technology as a Tool for Achieving Food Security Combating Drought on the African Continent”, aims to:

* Reaffirm and strengthen political commitment to action on gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and their human rights, ensuring high-level engagement,

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(Click here for information in Portuguese)

Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

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* Foment discussion events through round tables, high-level interactive dialogues, to exchange experiences, lessons learned and good practices.
* Debate on the status of gender equality on the African continent, identifying goals and achievements achieved, and challenges to fill existing gaps

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy also has the following specific objectives:

* Identify areas of convergence within the national chapters of the Bienal de Luanda and expand the position of groups of young women leaders at national level,

* Establish regional, continental and international cooperation protocols,

* Propose concrete actions for the qualification of young women, promoting opportunities for access to the labor market.

In order to materialize these objectives, five thematic panels were programmed, globally, for the two days of work, namely “The challenges of globalization in the process of gender empowerment”, “Technological innovation and education to achieve gender equality” , “Formalization as a mechanism for social and financial inclusion”, “Challenges of food security and climate change on the African continent” and “The role of women in consolidating peace and preventing conflicts”.

The program of the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy includes two master classes in the conference auditorium of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, with the themes “Challenges of Food Security and Climate Change on the African Continent”, by Papa Abdoulaye Seck (former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment and Ambassador of Senegal to Italy) and “Financing for Development in Africa Calls for a Paradigm Change: The Driving Role of Domestic Resources”, by Cristina Isabel Lopes Duarte – Adviser to the Secretary General of UN for Africa.

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy is aimed at Women Leaders of African Regional Organizations, Women Leaders, Heads of Government and members of the PALOPS, CPLP and OEACP. International and National Organizations, Representatives of Diplomatic Missions, Representatives of public sector entities, Public and private companies and Private sector entities.

Women must play a larger role in peace building and resolving conflicts –African Development Bank chief


An article from the African Development Bank (reprinted as non-commercial use)

Women’s proven role in conflict resolution makes the unique position of First Ladies even more important as agents for resolving conflicts in Africa.

“Men make wars, women make peace. Women must therefore be included in peace making, peace building, conflict resolution, and reconstruction efforts.” African Development Bank President told guests at the inauguration of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) state-of-the-art headquarters in Abuja heard on Tuesday.

“There can be no development without peace and security,” said Dr Adesina in a speech delivered on his behalf by the African Development Bank’s Director General for Nigeria, Lamin Barrow.

Nigeria’s first lady and outgoing chair of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Aisha Buhari, emphasised the significance of women’s role  in conflict resolution.

“As women leaders and mothers, our role in peace and security is to continue to say no to the culture and structures of violence that make people accept and unleash violence on innocent victims, the majority of whom are women and children,” she said.

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Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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She told the gathering that the African First Ladies Peace Mission has received the endorsement and support of partners led by the African Union. AFLPM has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the African Union to cooperate on peacebuilding, Buhari said.

The African Development Bank has partnered with the African Union to develop security-indexed investment bonds to help mobilise funding to address the root causes of political instability, protect businesses and livelihoods, and rebuild infrastructure in conflict-affected areas.

The bank is also providing support to vulnerable and internally displaced women living in refugee camps in the Sahel region.

“Nothing works without peace and security,” Adesina said, adding his voice to the African Union’s call to ‘silence the guns.’  “Many parts of Africa face major security challenges from conflict and war. Today, 85% of Africans live in or near a country in conflict.”

Women and children are disproportionately affected by wars, he said, adding that sexual violence, abductions, forced conscription and trafficking in women must end.

“Women’s voices must never be silenced,” Adesina added.

The Bank chief described African first ladies as critical to the efforts of African leaders and the African Union to ensure a peaceful and secure Africa by 2063.

“Your focus on addressing violence, promoting the role of women, fostering a culture of peace, and reducing conflict, are truly commendable,” Adesina said. “The African Development Bank stands ready to support your efforts and we look forward to a strong partnership with your organisation.”

He also stressed the importance of a collective responsibility to unite in order to resolve conflicts, break cycles of violence and address fragility.

A song for peace


A request received by email at CPNN

Dear CPNN,

I am humbly reaching out to you and your esteemed partners for a collaboration with your organisation to campaign for peace and for women empowerment and children safety using my song titled Peace World Need, music released early this year.

Frame from video of the song

It’s been a desire to reach out far calling on your organisation with proposal.

In this, I am humbly looking at song put on the airwaves to have message out to the people. It is often the case that the more a message is communicated to people, it impacts on their thinking to influence subsequent decisions and to a larger extent subsequent actions of the people.


We are all one people
One nation
Let us unite

Many language
Varying beliefs
But we are all one

Hurt no woman
Helping children

We need one another
For a better world

Save a life, save a life
Loving one another
As much as we can
Save a life, save a life
No other way to our peace.

Question for this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?


Daniel AYISI is a Ghanaian in Ghana coming from the Eastern region for the father side and from the Ashanti region the mother side currently living in Kumasi, the city in Ashanti Region.

Music has been a dual occupation alongside his accountancy profession being a graduate in Business Administration 
Born on the 1st of December, he recalls some instance tracing when and how he came up with music. At the primary school in the boarding house he recalls he was made the entertainment prefect. He recalls he was playing the konka drum for songs performed by colleagues during entertainment but do not know when he learnt playing this local drum. At the youthful age, he recalls he wrote and composed a song for the youth church choir, a song the choir leader commented was interesting though unused.

Music composition has been carried out through out his life partially realizing most of his songs in different genres at amazon music years ago. It was from 2018 he took up music occupation for a career fully releasing some singles and an EP and also having a video on the you tube EP titled, Thanksgiving, same title for music video.


Name of Artist : Daniel AYISI
Artist Name: Daniel AYISI
Country of Origin: Ghana
Music Status: Independent Music Artist- Composer, Songwriter, Singer, Producer.
Copyright Affiliation: CMMRA
Other Contacts: WhatsApp Mobile Phone: +233 543 050 667.

Promotion of the Culture of Peace: Salimane Karimou Launches the Project “Youth for Peace in Northern Benin”


An article from Matin Libre (translation by CPNN)

The Minister of Preschool and Primary Education, Salimane Karimou, presided, this Thursday, April 27, 2023 at the Golden Tulip in Cotonou, over the official launch of the project “Youth for Peace in Northern Benin”. Funded by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF Benin in collaboration with the government, this project aims to promote a culture of peace and strengthen the resilience of adolescents and young people in northern Benin by education and vocational training.

During the ceremony that served as a springboard for the official launch of this project, several speeches were made. In the presence of all the parties concerned, the Representative of UNICEF Benin, Djanabou Mahondé, began by thanking all the structures that made possible this tripartite partnership in favor of children, adolescents and young people in the North.

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(click here for the French original of this article)

Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

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She mentioned that”The project, which will be implemented until June 2024 for a value of approximately 2.5 million US dollars, or 1.5 billion CFA francs, places particular emphasis on children out of school, children in Koranic schools, but also girls, and young people looking for alternative education or training, who all find themselves in situations of vulnerability that expose them to risks, but also deprive them of their fundamental rights. Indeed, the launch of this project responds to an important need to work with and for young people, in order to make them agents of positive change and ambassadors of peace, while Benin, like other coastal countries of the sub-region, has been facing the consequences of the Sahel crisis in the northern border areas for several months.”

Following her, Sylvia Hartlief, Ambassador of the European Union in Benin praised the government and particularly the Minister Salimane Karimou for the efforts made in consolidating education in the border departments. “The objective is to provide Beninese children and adolescents with solid educational achievements and essential skills to better integrate into a constantly changing socio-economic environment, and to promote the role of children and young people in the safeguarding peace and social cohesion in the country. An objective of which we all measure the importance and the urgency, when we know that nearly two million children are out of school in Benin, more than half of them in the 4 departments of the North (Alibori, Atacora, Borgou and Donga). The European Union is proud to support you, to accompany you, in partnership with Unicef, whose legitimacy and quality of support in the service of education no longer need to be demonstrated.”

Speaking of this project, the Minister, Leader of the Ministers of Education informs that it will take place in the department of Atacora in Cobly, Kerou, Materi, Natitingou; in the department of Alibori in Banikoara, in Karimama and in the department of Donga in Ouaké. This program, he said, responds perfectly to the ambition of the government to ensure continuous improvement of access to basic social services and social protection. “Peace education aims to combat a culture of war by promoting a culture of peace. It calls into question the principle according to which violence is innate in humans and aims to put students at the center, able to resolve conflicts without violence, “he said, while reassuring himself that this program will enable impacted children, adolescents and young people to become responsible, peace-loving citizens. He finally proceeded to the official installation of the committee to lead this project.

Kenya: Women lead efforts to restore peace in the troubled North


An article by Bakari Ang’ela in The Saturday Standard

Women from the troubled parts of North Rift have established networks and platforms in their push to spearhead peace-building efforts in areas ravaged by banditry.

The women drawn from Turkana, West Pokot and Marakwet communities have kicked-off talks with their Ethiopian and Ugandan counterparts to take leading roles in the restoration of peace in the North.

Women groups drawn from Turkana, West Pokot and Marakwet communities in the troubled North Rift launch a peace-building caravan.[Bakari Ang’ela, Standard]

Maendeleo ya Wanawake and civil society groups championing women empowerment in Turkana County said rural women if supported, can fully participate in conflict prevention and resolution.

The women have been holding meetings in areas such as Kibish, West Pokot-Turkana, and Kenya-Uganda borders and other border areas near the vast region hit by attacks.

According to Kerio Valley peace icon and former Gender Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Linah Kilimo, the women groups can influence a change of attitude among suspected bandits.

“We had started meeting women from troubled areas in a bid to empower them to champion peace, but the initiative was interrupted. I am encouraging the government to support women in their push to champion peace,” said Kilimo.

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Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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Baringo County resident Maureen Lemashepe, on the other hand, asked Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to embark on women-led peace talks after the conclusion of the ongoing operation.

A message echoed by Nawi Lopem from Kang’aten village in Ethiopia who lauded meetings between Turkana and Ethiopia’s Nyangatom women as a step forward towards the achievement of cohesion and lasting peace.

“Whenever there is insecurity, women and girls can’t even access food commodities from the neighbouring trading centres because they are targets. Women can’t even get out of the areas they run to seek refuge in, to get sanitary pads. Attacks along the border have dehumanized women, and it is their time to broker peace,” said Ms Lopem

For Turkana County Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Jacinta Epeyon, the involvement of women in peace efforts was the missing link in the struggle to attain cohesion in the troubled North.

“Sustained attacks – especially on Turkana community by bandits from Baringo and Samburu counties, and by Toposa from South Sudan, Nyangatom from Ethiopia and Dodoth and Jie from Uganda – have seen women killed, others widowed and children left orphans. We are able to talk to our husbands and sons on the importance of peace and through frequent cross-border dialogues, our impact will be felt,” said Epeyon.

Ms Epeyon said that in remote villages such as Kokuro, Kibish, Kamuge, Napak and Napeitom, women and girls cannot easily access water and sanitary towels for their hygiene because of insecure roads leading to shopping centres and water points.

Project officer Ms Lilian Bwire said women in Turkana West sub-county along the Uganda border were now getting an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

“Insecurity has denied their children an opportunity to access basic education as there are no early childhood development and education centres. During cross-border peace dialogues among women, they are advocating lasting peace so that schools, hospitals, markets and roads are constructed,” said Ms Bwire.

World Vision and other organizations such as the UN have invested in women empowerment projects in the area but insecurity challenges have persisted.

“With peace, girls in schools such as Kibish Primary will learn in a favourable environment and compete equally with boys. As part of the celebration, we donated sanitary towels to them so that they are hygienically comfortable in class,” said Turkana Governor’s spouse, Lilian Ekamais.

Niger has made dialogue with violent extremist groups an important part of its strategy


An article from ISS Africa (republished according to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence)

On 10 February, Niger suffered one of its deadliest attacks  when gunmen with suspected links to violent extremist groups ambushed a military convoy in Banibangou, a community in the Tillabéri region. Seventeen soldiers died and 13 were injured, ending months of relative calm in the area.

Violence had diminished as a result of two special operations conducted in northern Tillabéri between July and October 2022 by Niger with reinforcements from 250 French troops . Codenamed Almahaou (whirlwind in Zarma) and Niya (will in Hausa), the offensives targeted groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The February attack highlights the limits of such operations and lends credence to the country’s use of dialogue as a key part of its counter-terrorism strategy.

In early 2022, Nigerien authorities recognised the need for dialogue with jihadist leaders in Tillabéri. This was inspired after several Nigeriens defected from their extremist groups, and violence in the Diffa region decreased after a disarmament and reintegration process  launched in 2016. A total of 386 former Boko Haram fighters went through deradicalisation and professional training.

The use of dialogue in Tillabéri shows strong political will on the part of the government, which is keen to disincentivise engagement with extremist groups, and stabilise the region. Niger’s approach, which combines dialogue and military action, starkly contrasts with the regional trend. Neighbouring countries have reinforced their military tactics through diversifying strategic alliances  and employing armed civilians .

Niger has a long tradition of dialogue following its successful management of Tuareg rebellions . The country has strived to institutionalise this tradition to allow for a more holistic approach to addressing its security challenges. A core step has been establishing the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace, hosted within the Presidency, and the National Coordination Unit for Stabilisation and Disengagement Programmes supervised by the Interior Ministry.

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Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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To prevent recruitment by terrorist groups, the government initiated several talks in 2022 to foster intra- and inter-communal dialogue for peace, reconciliation and social cohesion in various regions . These were followed by community mediation efforts, one of which led to the signing of a peace agreement  between the Fulani and Zarma communities in Banibangou on 21 January 2023. The deal is important, as jihadist groups exploited decades-long conflicts between the two communities for recruitment purposes.

To build consensus around the process, President Mohamed Bazoum has involved a range  of political, religious and civil society leaders, as well as security and administrative officials.

Ongoing dialogue and the personal commitment of Bazoum, supported by his advisory team, have facilitated contact with several jihadists through community emissaries . Recent Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research provides evidence that roughly 100 ex-combatants are being gathered in the capital Niamey, pending transfer to the socio-economic reintegration centre in Hamdallaye, in Tillabéri. They will go through deradicalisation and receive toolkits for setting up their own trades as mechanics, welders, plumbers, carpenters or dressmakers.

The dialogue process does, however, face some challenges. Interviewees told ISS Today that some community emissaries facilitating contact with jihadists were not necessarily the most qualified. They said those with stronger credibility and social influence had been sidelined. There were also concerns about how to effectively integrate ex-combatants into communities following their release from the Hamdallaye centre.

To succeed, Niger should adopt a more inclusive approach involving various influential actors. Better coordination between the institutions involved is also essential to avoid the dispersion of efforts. The government should ensure that the dialogue process is not bogged down, and is informed by lessons  learnt through the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement process in Diffa. This will minimise the risk of recruitment by jihadist groups, including of ex-combatants.

By including dialogue in its counter-terrorism efforts, Niger is experimenting with an approach similar to those in Algeria  and Mauritania , which underpin their decade-long protection against jihadist violence.

Niger’s neighbours in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea that are affected by violent extremism should take inspiration from the country’s strategy as they tackle the insecurity afflicting their populations. A coordinated regional approach would also exert pressure on terrorist groups and ultimately deprive them of human resources.

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso Promotes Community Resilience through Dialogue and Peace Initiatives in Ouahigouya


A press release from Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso partnered with the municipality of Ouahigouya to organize an unprecedented event to promote peace and social cohesion in the context of security challenges, the spread of violent extremism, and intercommunity tensions in Burkina Faso.

The event was organized within the framework of the project “Un Futur à Construire” (A Future to Build), funded by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany and Denmark through the PATRIP Foundation and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

More than 500 participants, including local authorities, religious and customary leaders, and representatives of eight communities – Peules, Mossé, Samo, Gourounsi, Gourmantché, those of the Southwest (Lobi, Dagara Djan Pougli, Birifors), Bissa and the Malian community, which was invited as a guest of honor – took part in the event. The strong participation of women, with 300 present, underscored their crucial role in promoting resilience and community cohesion.

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Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

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Under the theme “Community Resilience in the Face of Security Challenges,” the event focused on building community resilience to combat insecurity and promote peace. Participants exchanged messages of peace, tolerance, and coexistence and shared inspirational quotes on the importance of unity and coexistence.

During the day, Adama, a local radio host, emphasized the importance of rediscovering the values that allowed their ancestors to live together peacefully, while Achille, the organizing committee’s communications manager, acknowledged his previous distrust of a particular community. However, he was moved by the message of that community’s representative and stressed the importance of analyzing one’s own prejudices and biases.

The event included games and a fair that lasted all day, promoting unity and friendship between the different communities. The participation of members of a community that was previously distrusted by others is a significant achievement demonstrating its courage and willingness to promote cohesion despite stigma and fear.

Community representatives expressed regret at escalating violence between the communities and called for dialogue to return to peaceful coexistence. The event was praised for the quality of the messages and the interest shown by the different communities towards each other, despite the initial tensions.

Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso remains committed to promoting peace and social cohesion in Burkina Faso through various initiatives that encourage dialogue and collaboration between communities. We call on all stakeholders to join us in this effort to reduce conflict and promote sustainable peace in Burkina Faso.

(Click here for a French version.)

Exclusive interview with General Djibril Bassolé from Burkina Faso on the sidelines of the Global Security Forum in Doha (Qatar)


An article from Financial Afrik (translation by CPNN)

“We must dialogue with armed terrorist groups”. This serious sentence pronounced by General Djibril Bassolé, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, caused a sensation during the very restricted Global Security Forum in Doha (Qatar). On the sidelines of this international forum held from March 13 to 15, 2023 and dedicated to leaders and experts in international relations, strategy and security, the former United Nations and African Union mediator for Darfur and former special envoy of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Mali and the Sahel, spoke with Financial Afrik.

“I am one of those who think that in Africa, the centralized Jacobin State that we inherited it from the colonizer is showing its limits”

FA: Hello General! You are currently in Doha to take part in the Global Security Forum and to advocate dialogue with terrorist groups. Can you explain to us exactly how dialogue with such extremist groups is possible and can lead to peace?

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Qatari authorities and the organizers for inviting me to take part in this Doha forum and to make a presentation during the panel on the experiences of conflict prevention and resolution by mediation.

I will answer your question by telling you what I have already explained to the panelists on the importance of dialogue. In most African countries that suffer from terrorist attacks, the origin of the aggressors has undergone a significant evolution.

Initially, it was exclusively an ideological and cross-border jihadism. In other words, the aggressors came from outside and often decided to die as suicide bombers. No dialogue was possible with such assailants.

Nowadays, jihadism takes the form of local or regional armed insurgencies. Young nationals of the targeted countries have massively enlisted in jihadist groups, in strategic and ideological alliances to wage armed struggles against their States. They attack the defense and security forces (symbols of State authority) and their fellow citizens with unprecedented violence.

FA: What explains why nationals massively adhere to jihadist organizations?

Presumably, the jihadists offer them a more promising social project. You know, the regions in Africa in which they operate are generally desert areas, which are characterized by precarious living conditions. As I said to the panellists, the jihadist phenomenon is superimposed on pre-existing local tensions and crises that we must never ignore. We must recognize that feelings of marginalization and frustration exist in certain regions that are disadvantaged by nature and can push a section of its populations, mainly young people, to join terrorist movements in order to benefit from their guidance and support.

FA: However, General, it will not be easy to separate things. Is a distinction possible between these jihadist groups, foreign attackers and local insurgents?

I agree it is difficult. But, given the complexity of the phenomenon, it must also be admitted that the military solution alone will not be able to eradicate it. To maximize the chances of restoring a lasting peace, States must promote channels of dialogue alongside robust military arrangements well suited to the nature of the terrorist threat because dialogue does not mean capitulation. A constructive dialogue needs a strong and credible state.

FA: The dialogue you advocate would be about what and with whom?

To establish a dialogue, a contact with the local insurgents, is essential. They are nationals who follow the jihadist movements because they have no other alternatives. A dialogue makes it possible first of all to better assess the situation of insecurity, to make a precise diagnosis and to identify the root causes of the massive adhesion of young nationals to terrorist actions.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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Dialogue then makes it possible to reform the system of governance because I am one of those who think that in Africa, the centralizing Jacobin State as we inherited it from the colonizer is showing its limits. It will be necessary to reform the State so that it is better able to promote the general interest, to guarantee better governance, to ensure a better distribution of natural resources, in short, to give populations control of their destiny.

Finally, the dialogue will eventually make it possible to envisage peace talks or even negotiations, knowing that lasting peace generally passes through a national dialogue which will consolidate national cohesion.

In any case, dialogue is one of the typically African means of settling conflicts and easing tensions. I think that as Africans we must find our own ways to resolve the crises that have undermined our societies. In places, jihadism takes the form of an armed insurrection that could lead to a civil war.

FA: Do you know that part of public opinion is fiercely opposed to any form of dialogue with these terrorist groups?

I know this and I understand this entirely human reaction to the barbarity and cruelty of the crimes committed by armed terrorist groups. The question is how to stop the phenomenon of the rapid spread of terrorist acts and above all how to succeed in ensuring that young people are not attracted to this jihadism which they consider to be a form of armed struggle which will improve their living conditions.

Firmness and military response are essential to deter and protect populations and their property. But to create the conditions for a lasting peace, it is necessary to talk to and understand the young people who are attracted by the jihadist armed struggle.

In some cases like Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, or elsewhere in the Sahel, the forces of evil have succeeded in pitting communities against each other on a massive scale.

Can you imagine how many young soldiers will still have to be sacrificed and how many young jihadist nationals will have to be neutralized to consider that state X has won the war? And even if the regular defense forces would take over militarily, the problem would not be permanently solved.

Not to mention the humanitarian disaster of people fleeing conflict-ridden areas, the thousands of schools closed, the freezing of social and economic activities, etc.

FA: Qatar, where you are, is often accused of supporting jihadist organizations, particularly in the Sahel. What do you know?

I have never experienced this kind of support. When I was the United Nations and African Union Mediator for Darfur, Qatar hosted the peace talks that lasted almost 3 years and we succeeded in passing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD ) in July 2011. More recently, Qatar hosted in Doha for 5 months the representatives of the Chadian Government as well as the delegations of the armed opposition (called the politico-military) I worked with the Qatari mediation to achieve the signing in Doha, on August 8, of the so-called Doha agreement for peace in Chad.

During these common experiences, I rather found among the Qataris a good disposition to work for peace, stability and development in Africa. Above all, I remembered from them this culture of peace, tolerance and openness with a certain humility.

I have also taken the liberty during this forum to ask them to get involved in the search for lasting peace and development in the Sahel for the States that wish it of course. I also asked them to help provide emergency relief to displaced populations and above all to help these States to reopen schools in areas affected by conflict in order to save a whole generation of children from the jihadist danger.

Regarding you personally, General, how is your health?

I thank God for the completely satisfactory evolution of my health according to the attending physicians. I underwent a major surgery that saved my life. The follow-up and periodic checks are continuing well by the specialized center of the Saint Louis hospital in Paris, which took good care of me.

Where are you with the legal proceedings that pronounced a sentence against you for your involvement in a case of attack on state security in Burkina Faso?

This question, like all those of a political nature, arouses so much passion and controversy that I prefer to leave it to my lawyers to manage it in serenity and respect for the rules of procedure. As for me, I only wish that, what is in reality only a cabal (all those who know the case agree) and the appalling legal hassles there, will have a happy ending with a truly independent justice in the greatest transparency.

For the time being, I find it wiser to concentrate my energies on rebuilding myself and making myself useful, particularly in the area of crisis resolution and armed conflict, as I have had the privilege of doing throughout my career in security service and then diplomacy.

Niger: First edition of the Peace Festival in the agro-pastoral zone in Gadabedji


An article from Agence Nigérienne de Presse

The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts, Mr. Hamid Hamed opened on March 18, 2023 in Gadabedji (Department of Bermo) the 1st edition of the Festival of Peace in Agro-pastoral Zone in the presence od the Minister of State at the Presidency, Mr. Rhissa AG Boula, delegations from the regions of Tahoua, Zinder, Agadez and Maradi, as well as craftsmen from all regions of our country.

Placed under the theme “Intercommunality-social cohesion-Peace and security”, this Festival of Peace in pastoral areas is initiated by leaders committed to supporting the State in its mission to strengthen social cohesion and community security. The initiative is motivated by the fear of violence spreading from the security situation prevailing in certain regions of the country and the persistence of hotbeds of tension in countries with which Niger shares long and porous borders.
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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:


Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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For the organizers of this festival, it is a question of mobilizing the available energies to preserve peace in this area and to forestall insecurity by focusing on the dynamics of existing and latent conflicts. The objective is to contribute to the strengthening of security and social cohesion based on the traditional socio-cultural values.

Several activities, punctuated by musical and cultural interludes took place during this first edition. These are communications on banditry and the fight against the penetration of terrorists; communication on the dialogue between actors; on the management of shared resources; the contribution of the municipalities in connection with the themes presented and the declaration of the young people; messages from civil society and farmers’ organizations. These communications were moderated by panelists including Dr Elbak Adam, Dr Ali Saley, Dr Bodé Sambo and Col. Director of the Gadabedji reserve.

In his opening speech, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts recalled that this festival is an inter-municipal initiative and it comes at the right time because the current context challenges us all, so that together we participate to the development of our country.

“This is why my Ministerial Department, in accordance with its mission of supervision and promotion of culture, has agreed to support this initiative which fits harmoniously into the dynamics of enhancing the cultural, tourist and artisanal potential of Niger. ” he said.

He added to the organizers that their idea of organizing a festival on the culture of peace fits perfectly with the daily concerns expressed by the highest authorities in Niger.

He expressed the wish to see this festival take place in fraternity and conviviality. “The objective of my Ministerial department is to see Nigerien culture valued in all its splendour. I urge you to take ownership of this project, to show discipline and to submit any suggestions for improvement,” he said.