Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lorma-Mandingo Conflict Spotlighted

…ZODWOCA Director Stresses the Need for Coexistence

A local NGO, the Zorzor District Women Care (ZODWOCA), has been finding working to resolve a long standing conflict between the Mandingoes and the Lormas in Lofa County The Executive Director of ZODWOCA, madam Agnes Kortimai, told this reporter that it is now time for all Liberians coexist and move forward with the national development agenda of the present administration

She said it was because of this she included the Lorma –Mandingo conflict on the in a recent NED-sponsored workshop which discussed amongst other things, the fundamental rights in the Liberian Constitution, new legal protections against gender-based violence, defending rape victims in local courts, protecting against domestic violence and women’s leadership promotion.

According to her billkjarkloh.wordpress.com, the new world does not call for discrimination, which she said has impeded on the rights of individual to so many things including intermarriage amongst others.

Calling on Lormas and Mandingoes to bury their hatches by accepting each other, Madam Kortimai said for this reason, at the workshop discussions were also centered on “resolving conflicts among the belligerent tribes over hot-blooded issues such as conflict between the Lormas and Mandingoes ethnic groups, property rights, religion, and intermarriage”.

During the workshop, the group exercises, formal and informal presentations, discussions, and exchange of personal experiences formed major parts of the workshop. Workshop facilitators included religious leaders, community women’s leaders, youth’s leaders and ZODWOCA staff.

Addressing the Lorma-Mandingo feud, the workshop reviewed the ethnic problem between the Lormas and the Mandingoes. Some of the speakers, especially a religious leader, who spoke briefly as a facilitator, asked the participants to do with him a research aiming at finding the root causes of said conflict, of which nearly every participant agreed, was the issue of land, .intermarriage and petty jealousy.

Ms. Krubo Deddeh, a Lorma women leader in the clan, told her fellow women that they should be the one to bring peace between the Lormas and the Mandingoes.

Madam Deddeh also alluded to an incident between Lawalazu and Samie Town, in which a youth leader of Samie Town was missing and Samie town was accusing Lawalazu for the youth leader, a situation which she noted has almost resulted to war between the two towns.

Madam Deddeh also said she said that they were prepared to put the past behind them and move forward with live. She also cited the recent program held in Quondi Bondi, a Mandingoes dominated Clan, where the two conflicting tribes made greater gains in enhancing their relation.

Deddeh further cautioned participants of both tribes at the workshop to encourage their respective kinsmen to avoid conflict between their tribes as conflict was not the best solution in solving any problem. “This county/country belongs to every one of us and we should try to live in peace with one another, and that is the only way that we can develop this county, Lofa.” She said.

The Lormas and the Mandingoes in Lofa have not been coexisting since the Lormas accused members of their rival tribe of killing their members of their tribe during the Liberian Civil war. The conflict started far before the Liberian war when the Lormas were claiming ownership of Lofa which the Mandingoes opposed.

During the war, the bitterness that attended the Lormas claim has caused the Mandingoes who were dominant in ULIMO-K and the LURD rebel groups reportedly haunted and killed the Lormas, leading to the formation of the Lofa Defense Force predominantly of the Lormas to prevent themselves from further attacks of the Mandingoes.

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