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Posted - 09 Jan 2014 :  14:43:09  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

By Kebba Jeffang

Young people from The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry converged at the southern Senegalese town of Ziguinchor, the regional capital, from the 27 – 30 December 2013, to discuss issues on how to bring about lasting peace and unity in the Casamance. The four day convergence was organised by the Dynamic for Peace in Cassamance region of Senegal, which is a sub-regional organization, with national chapters in the participating countries, and purposely established to work towards finding solutions to end the more than three decades conflict in Casamance through dialogue and consensus among the stakeholders.

It had brought together representatives from the Senegalese government in the person of the governor of the Region of Ziguinchor, MFDC (section in France) and civil society groups in both Senegal and the sub-region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Madam Fatou Jallow, the President of the Peace village and deputy commissioner of the Gambia Scouts Association, who also headed the Gambian delegation, thanked the organizers for convening such an event and also the participants for their attendance.

She described the event as a first of its kind in their quest to bring about peace in the more than thirty years conflict in Casamance in southern Senegal.

She urged the stakeholders, especially the youth folk, to come together and work for the stability and lasting peace in the region through positive thinking and action. She also called on the partners from The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry to support Senegal in her efforts to build and consolidate peace in its southern part.
Mr. Albert Dieme, from the Guinea Bissau Chapter, underscored the importance of peace adding that the youth in Guinea Bissau have engaged in peace building processes two years with the help of this organization.

He hailed the initiative of gathering young people from the different countries and various committees to share their thoughts and report on their respective experiences and work. He assured that youth in Guinea Bissau will continue to play their role peace both in Casamance in Senegal as well as the sub-region.

Madam Marie Angelique Diatta, President of Dynamic for Peace in Casamance (DPC), who was overwhelmed by happiness, urged the youth from the all represented countries to increase their efforts in making change for peace. “Peace is the foundation and I am urging the youth from these twelve local committees to keep up the momentum.

The resolution of this conflict is a good step and the lessons learnt here should be disseminated to those outside for wider understanding in our various societies,”
said Madame Diatta. Mr. Boubacar Sambou of the Peace Ambassadors-The Gambia stressed on the importance of peace and tasked everyone to be a peace advocate as a means of sustaining it.

He said his organization is engaged in educating people on peace building. He said peace can only be achieved through dialogue. He described the invitation extended to them to participate in the program as a clear manifestation of the determination to work for peace. He thanked the organizers for the initiative.

The representative the government of Guinea Bissau, Colonel Alpha Mane, stressed the need for maintaining peace, adding that nothing can be done without it. He said Guinea Bissau will stand by Senegal in ensuring that Casamance is free from conflict. “Unity is the only thing that can sustain peace and many conflicts in Africa today are caused by lack of unity and I am afraid if the trend continues we will eventually lose our Independence.

This organization should be formed in Guinea Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia and Conakry to help in consolidating peace,”
said Colonel Mane.

He concluded by assuring that through the army of Bissau their government will support this organization to ensure that Casamance is free from crisis. Mr. Louis Tendeng, Coordinator of the MFDC Contact Group (created within MFDC for negotiation), said they have deeply regretted the loss of lives loses in Casamance conflict. He congratulated the young people for coming up with such an initiative that is meant to create change for good.

For his part, Mr. Henry Ndecky, Coordinator of Dynamic for Peace in Casamance (DPC), said peace in the Casamance must be a reality and urged all stakeholders to be part of the peace process and commit themselves to it for the interest of the innocent people. He urged the people to put aside tribal and religious inclinations that only help in disuniting the people from the same region and which is a recipe for conflicts.

“This is not our mission at all,” he said. He disclosed that similar programs will be held in Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, adding that Bissau may be the first host. In his statement, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Dieng, the governor of the Region of Ziguinchor, expressed his appreciation and delight for being part of this first edition of the Peace Village (Village de la paix). “Everyone needs peace as peace is life, and for this reason, I can tell you that since government cannot perform without youth, therefore we will give all kinds of support to make sure that this important step you have taken is successful in the end,” said governor Dieng.

This was preceeded by panel sessions on various themes aimed at building and consolidating peace in both Casamance and the sub-region.

Source: Foroyaa Burning Issues News

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Edited by - kobo on 09 Jan 2014 15:00:22
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