Assessment of needs for the Consolidation of Peace in Logone and Chari (Far North Cameroon) Final Report
UNDP is planning to contribute to the consolidation of peace in some Logone and Chari areas sharing borders with Chad and prone to extremism. Young people are the main targets of the activities to be undertaken. To this end, an assessment was made on the sources of conflict and extremism, local conflict resolution mechanisms and participation of youth and women in these mechanisms .Various data collection tools have been exploited based on targets. Literature review and the analysis of field surveys made it possible to arrive at four observations. First, the situation of the Logone and Chari is different from that of the other Far North localities affected by Boko Haram. Second, past and present conflicts are interwoven. Third, extremism is present there, but its motives are more related to identity and socioeconomic factors than religion. Fourthly, stability in the Logone and Chari is highly dependent on the social and political context in the neighboring Nigerian and Chadian territories and correlatively on the sustainability of the lacustrine and trans-boundary socioeconomic activities. Indeed, in the north of Kousseri, the area is relatively rich with economic opportunities. However, the rules of access and exploitation, as well as the framework for cross-border transactions, create tensions between communities, between young people and public officials in charge of trade regulation. By breaking mobility, Boko Haram has considerably reduced opportunities for young people. The difficulties of resettlement and idleness are sources of opportunistic adherence to the Islamist insurrection. This situation also leads to violent moods against the state, concerned with order and respect for norms. On a daily basis, inter-community relations remain marked by the stigma of inter-ethnic violence in the early 1990s. Extremism is primarily related to identity. It structures political, associative and corporatist affiliations. It influences business relations and Islamic doctrinal affiliations. Communitarianism is perceptible. The influence of religious debates in progress in Ndjamena is timidly felt. The majority Arabs know what it would cost them to appear Islamist. The other communities are mainly followers of traditionalist Islam. Traditional chiefdoms remain the preferred framework for solving social conflicts in rural areas. Administrative, security and judicial authorities are seized for major disputes. Young people and women are put aside from conflict management mechanisms. Children, on the other hand, grow older by copying their elders. They aim to carry out the same activities, but require more education and job training. However, one sees in them the premises of an identity consciousness. Recommendations were made to help prevent the resurgence of conflicts and extremism, and above all to prepare young people to resist the signs of radicalization in the future. These include the formalization of procedures, the archiving of treated cases and the capacity-building of the traditional mechanisms for conflict prevention, conciliation and counter-radicalization. The popularization of a theology of peaceful coexistence and alternative messages as well as supplying youth and women's associations with better tools in preventing conflicts and extremism are urgent in areas that are exposed to new ideas and transmigration of actors who disseminate them. More specifically, it is imperative to facilitate access of young people and women to skills training and income-generating activities, particularly in trade and agriculture. Capacity-building and small equipment grant to youth peace organizations could increase their ability to strengthen peaceful coexistence and preventing extremism.