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West Africa's Trouble Spots and the Imperative for Peace-Building

Osita Agbu

Publication Year: 2007

This monograph highlights the necessity for taking preventive measures in the form of peace-building as a sustainable and long-term solution to conflicts in West Africa, with a special focus on the Mano River Union countries. Apart from the Mano River Union countries, efforts at resolving other conflicts in say, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, C?te d'Ivoire and Nigeria, have suffered from a lack of attention on the post-conflict imperatives of building peace in order to ensure that sustainable peace is achieved. Given the often intractable and inter-related nature of conflicts in this region, it argues for the need to revisit the existing mechanisms of conflict resolution in the sub-region with a view to canvassing a stronger case for stakeholders towards adopting the peace-building strategy as a more practical and sustainable way of avoiding wars in the sub-region. Peace-building in consonance with its infrastructure is a more sustainable approach to ensuring regional peace and stability and, therefore, ensuring development for the peoples of West Africa. Dr Osita Agbu is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. His areas of specialization include Peace and Conflict studies, Governance and Democratization and Technology and Development. He was until recently, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies, Chiba, Japan.

Published by: African Books Collective

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Abbreviations

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-

This work is a comprehensive examination of the state of conflicts and the post-conflict environment in West Africa. It is outstanding in its analysis of the causes and interconnection between conflicts in the various trouble spots in the region. The monograph deals with the challenges of peacebuilding and is refreshing...

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Preface and Acknowledgement

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pp. x-

This monograph is written with the intention to highlight the necessity for taking preventive measures in the form of peace-building as a sustainable and long-term solution to conflicts in the West African sub-region, with a special focus on the Mano River Union countries. Apart from the Mano River Union countries...

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1 Introduction

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pp. 1-12

The various low-intensity and deadly conflicts going on in Africa have serious implications for development and it is imperative that long lasting solutions are sought. Given that these conflicts raged on and off for many years in the West African sub-region, for example in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in the Casamance region of Senegal, it is...

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2 Peace Concept and Peace-building

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pp. 13-20

One cannot really discuss peace without talking about war. However, there is the need to consciously work at promoting or building peace after hostilities which involves a lot of activities geared towards not only returning to a state of normalcy but also, ensuring that future hostilities do not arise. Building a culture of peace implies trying to put in place the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity...

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3 An Overview of the Liberian Crisis

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pp. 21-31

Liberia is located on the West Coast of Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, and lying between Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone. It has a population of about 2.8 million people and a landmass covering 97,754 sq. km (i.e. 37,743 sq. miles). It was established as an independent Republic in 1847 after its settlement by freed slaves from America...

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4 An Overview of the Sierra Leonean Crisis

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pp. 32-48

Sierra Leone is located on the South West Coast of Africa sandwiched between Guinea and Liberia. It has a landmass of 71,740 sq. km (i.e. 27,699 sq. miles), and has a population of about 5.2 million people, with capital at Freetown.1 It gained political independence from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961. Beginning from 1991, Sierra Leone was...

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5 The Guinean Dimension: Dynamics of the Sub-regional Conflicts and Implications for Peace

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pp. 49-54

Another very important dimension to the intermittent conflicts in West Africa is the dovetailing nature of these conflicts or what has been referred to as the ‘exportation of war’. The role or possible role that Guinea may have played in exacerbating the conflicts in this region is worth examining. It is indeed very interesting to note that Guinea consistently...

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6 Other Conflicts in the Sub-Region

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pp. 55-66

Apart from the better-known conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, there were also other pockets of conflicts, which created problems for peace and security in the West African sub-region. These include the conflicts in Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal, in the Casamance region. Of interest, is the fact that many of these conflicts...

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7 Regional Conflict Resolution Efforts

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pp. 67-77

It is not as if the various conflicts in the West African sub-region have been going on without efforts made at finding solutions to them. However, more often than not, it appears that enough political will was never summoned, generally as a result of the diverse interests of the parties to the conflicts. Often times, African leaders do not seem...

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8 Multilateral Organisations and Conflict Resolution in the Sub-region

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pp. 78-81

Apart from the very significant role played by ECOWAS, the OAU (now AU) and the United Nations have been important partners in the effort at conflict resolution in the West Africa. The European Union was also very helpful in the Sierra Leonean peace process. In the case of the UN, since its creation in 1945 it has been saddled with the all- important task of maintaining international...

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9 The Role of External Actors

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pp. 82-85

A study of this nature cannot be complete without also examining the role or possible roles played by external actors in both the generation and resolution of conflicts in the region, especially in the Mano River Union. Some of these actors include the United States, France, mercenary organisations like Executive Outcomes and Sandline, and many...

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10 The Imperative for Peace-Building

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pp. 86-91

The histories and lessons from the conflicts in the Mano River Union and in fact, the West African sub-region have strengthened the position and indeed, argument that peace-building is a better alternative for ensuring that conflicts do not arise or resurge in the first instance. As a long-lasting strategy to the maintenance of stability, peace building should be inbuilt into any serious conflict resolution framework with a view to ensuring...

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11 Conclusion

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pp. 92-97

The above statement clearly indicates the difficulty inherent in embarking on any peace-building project in the African continent. However, the consolation is that this cannot be done by any one single country or actor but by a combination of actors, countries, organisations and individuals. It has come to a stage in West Africa, where peace education should become very relevant as a compulsory subject in the curricula. This is because...

Bibliography

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pp. 98-104

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782869784246
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869781931

Page Count: 116
Publication Year: 2007