Analysis Of Inter-Communal Conflict Dynamics In North East Ethiopia: The Case Of Atsbi Wonberta And The Neighboring Afar
Atsbha, Tekle Berhe
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Conflict is natural phenomena of human life. It is value free; it can be both constructive and destructive. The problem is, thus not the existence of conflict rather the way we react to it. The main themes of this research were to examine the dynamic inter-communal conflicts between Atsbi wonberta and their neighboring Afar in North East Ethiopia. This research gives emphasis to the underlying cause, dynamics and trends of the conflict by recognizing that this requires a deep understanding of historical and current relationship of the two communities in time of peace and conflict. To this end, both secondary and primary sources were used. However, due to the fact that either the recent conflict is less known and much neglected or literature on Atsbi Wonberta-Afar conflict is hardly available, secondary data have lesser share in this research. The research methodology employed for this study was qualitative, descriptive analysis. Atsbi Wonberta and their neighboring Afar communities have long history of peace full socio- economic interaction. Prior to 1991, these communities used to live peacefully. Conflicts were occurred rarely and if happened were resolved via traditional conflict resolution mechanism called Gereb/shimgilina. But after 1991, the relation of the two communities kept worsening and violent conflict continues to persist. The finding of this study revealed that the causes of the conflict are related to socio-cultural and economic variables. Government intervention in the conflict was very late and very little only focusing on treating symptoms of the problem than addressing the root causes. The pasture and water- related conflicts have been shown a shift with the intention of gaining territorial extension. This exacerbated the situation and hinders the sustainability of peace. Consequently, the conflict becomes catastrophic at one time and cools down at another time. The persistent conflict resulted in loss of human life, property damage and violation of people’s fundamental right and reduced development efforts in the study area. The culture of interdependence and symbiotic relationships between the two communities like “Fukur” (close friendship) and “Gereb” (joint institution for resolving conflict) have now fading away. This implies the gravity of the problem. Therefore, persistent efforts are required to bring about negotiable and non-confrontational commitment on the part of the two communities. To this end, the study underscores the importance of timely intervention on the part of the two wereda government. Government officials at wereda level should work hand in hand with the local communities and support the deep-rooted local institution, Gereb, so as to strengthening conflict prevention and management between the two communities.