n Conflict Trends - Customary institutions and traditions in pastoralist societies : neglected potential for conflict resolution

Volume 2013, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Border regions in the Horn of Africa are rife with pastoralist conflicts that usually include tit-for-tat cattle raids, thefts and revenge killings. These sometimes escalate into widespread violence, resulting in the mass displacement of people, reduced access to pasture and water and decreased livelihoods. Cultural traditions and customary institutions feature significantly in conflict initiation and resolution. As a result, efforts to encourage and employ these institutions in conflict prevention and resolution programmes present an opportunity to achieve more sustainable peace by utilising internal cultural factors. This article reviews the dynamics of pastoralist conflicts, using case examples of how cultural traditions and customary institutions can contribute to successful conflict resolution.

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