By Prudence Arobani
New York – The UN on Friday voiced concerns over the violent conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in West and Central Africa, with particular mention of the recent killings in Plateau, Nigeria, saying they contravened global humanitarian law.
It, therefore, called for deliberate action to end the conflicts.
In a statement by its spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the UN expressed regret over the killings, saying: “more than 80 people in central Nigeria were killed in land disputes between the two sides this week.
“The Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, stresses that all attacks targeting civilians violated international humanitarian law,” the statement read.
“However, this has been a long-standing issue with similar incidents occurring in other countries in Africa, causing more than 1,000 deaths over the past year alone, according to media reports,” he added.
He condemned the resulting loss of lives, property and livelihoods, as well as population displacement, which he said, undermined peaceful coexistence amongst communities in many of the affected countries.
The statement quoted Guterres as saying that he was “deeply concerned about the increasing frequency, intensity, complexity and geographic scope of violent conflict between farmers and herders”.
The UN chief also said he was deeply concerned over the mounting violence, as well as the resulting banditry, extortion and cattle rustling in several countries across West and Central Africa.
The secretary-general expressed the solidarity of the UN with the people and governments of the affected countries.
According to him, the violent conflict is also detrimental to regional stability.
The UN chief urged all concerned governments, regional organisations, civil society and other relevant actors to work together to find acceptable and lasting solutions to these conflicts.
According to him, this should be done in full compliance with existing regional regulatory frameworks and international humanitarian and human rights law.
Guterres stressed the readiness and commitment of the UN to support national and regional efforts to resolve disputes between farmers and herders.