Violence and insecurity : an obstacle to development, peace and prosperity

Crédit image: Generative AI,

Violence is a behaviour that hurts physically or damages someone or something. Violence refers to force used to subjugate someone against his will. Violence is an extreme form of aggression against a person or it is a quarrel that results in injury and death of a person. It is an abominable and horrible act, which can lead to the worst (injury-death of a person). Gandhi, theorist of non-violence, has said, “Violence should not be confused with force or conflict. There is violence only when force is in action”.

Mali is going through a deep crisis because of insecurity due to conflicts that are leading to violence such as inter- and intra-community tensions in the country. Acts of violence against the civilian population continue to increase in different regions of Mali and civilians continue to pay the heaviest price for conflicts, violence and attacks by armed groups that are causing great loss of lives and properties.

There are different types of violence in our society today

Gender-based violence: there are many forms of gender-based violence, which we experience in our communities today.

  • Physical violence: physical abuses like punching; spitting, pushing; slapping; biting and even using weapons etc.
  • Sexual violence: sexual violence takes place in many forms and it can take place under very different circumstances. It can include sexual slavery, sexual harassment, trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced pregnancy and forced marriage.
  • Violence against women: women are always the victims in our societies. Excision, early marriage and conjugal violence are forms of violence against women. All these cause a lot of physical and psychological health problems in a woman’s life. Many girls withdraw from school because of these and other types of violence against them. It is important to know that there are multiple forms of violence in our society that people face and that they have serious consequences on individuals, families and communities.
  • Inter- and intra-community violence: there is violence between farmers and breeders. This is a territorial conflict, causing the destruction of lives and properties in our communities today. There are also armed attacks against people, villages and public infrastructure, which continue to undermine the protection of civilians and cause numerous losses of human life. Violence in all its forms constitutes an obstacle to the sustainable development, peace and prosperity of a country. Territorial conflicts lead to destruction of lives and property. There is also verbal and moral violence which provokes hatred.

In Nioro of Sahel

Here, in our region, Nioro du Sahel, we experience violence between ethnic groups and also between different communities. Islam is a dominant religion in the region; many also follow African traditional religions. Or they may follow cultures and traditions that harm individuals and society as a whole. Such violence is at the origin of the destabilisation of the country and causes poverty and unemployment in the society. It seems that the society does not want or accept some of these cultures and this causes physical and psychological harm both to individuals and to society at large. Some religious leaders and parents still seem to support practices like excision and child marriage. That’s why these practices continue to exist though now reducing slowly. We get to know this, when we, as church, participate in different sessions organized by some NGOs and by the Government projects that promote and tackle the issues of violence and insecurity. In our towns and villages, violence such as female genital mutilation and underage marriages are causing a lot of physical and psychological health problems to young girls. These different types of violence can be the cause of destabilisation of the communities and the country at large. And that can cause economic insecurity, preventing a country from developing.

Attacks by armed groups

The humanitarian consequences of attacks in the villages, killings, kidnappings, burning of harvests in the fields and setting fire on barns and houses as well as livestock theft are many. In such a climate of insecurity, it is difficult to think about the economy and stability of one’s country.  In the region, from time to time few NGOs try to bring peace and raise the awareness of the communities about the consequences of violence. Inter- and intra-community violence and attacks by unknown armed-men against the population, villages and public infrastructure continue to undermine the protection of civilians and cause numerous losses of human lives. This is the situation in many villages and regions in Mali, and many of these displaced people are children and women. Faced with this situation, survivors of these attacks flee from their villages in large number to places seemed safer. This forced displacement makes them victims of famine. The government intervenes by following the law of the country. The increase in attacks in the villages subsequently causes forced displacements. The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) is increasing day after day due to persistent insecurity in the country. The situation is complex for carrying out mediation activities, reconciling the different communities, strengthening social cohesion and encouraging the return of basic social service personnel. The fields, granaries and houses are set on fire by groups of armed men. From time to time, there are NGOs which provide humanitarian aid like providing cereals, agricultural materials and also moral help.

The region of Nioro du Sahel is mostly dry desert. It has a short rainy season. Because of that there is not enough harvest. This problem causes economic insecurity in the region. Unknown armed men attack and rob transport buses. That limits people from moving from one place to another. There are territorial conflicts that lead to violence such as peasants against breeders; violence between ethnic groups etc.

Violence is causing loss of life and properties. Child marriage and female genital mutilation have been a big challenge in the area. Many underage girls withdraw from school and lead a life they are not yet prepared for. These conflicts and violence are causing great economic insecurity in the region and are an obstacle for the development of the country. In a real sense, it is difficult for the people to live in peace while things are not working. It is evident, that many people are not at peace but they have no choice. Some of them are losing their family members, because of the way others are mistreating them.

By: Gidey Mekonnin Girmay, M.Afr.

Leave a Reply