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5. Security Provision by Customary Authorities


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    Tillabéri, Ayerou: "The advent of insecurity poses difficulties for us in terms of limiting travel to preach in certain localities. And, again because of the insecurity, we are afraid to talk about certain subjects for fear of reprisals from terrorists."

    Tillabéri, Abala: "Traditional and religious leaders can empower their communities to confront violence and violent armed actors through awareness raising. They do not have enough power to mobilise resources or take up arms to combat violent extremism."

    Tillabéri, Abala: "They [traditional and religious authorities] help a lot in the area of information. Everywhere in the commune, as soon as there are motorbikes around a village, the traditional authorities are immediately informed. However, with the current deterioration of the situation marked by the multiplication of attacks and assassinations of traditional leaders, it is very difficult for the traditional authorities to play their role properly. It has become very complicated for them. For example, all the Fulani tribal chiefs have fled the area because of the abuses they are subjected to."

    Ménaka, Inekar: "We are always trying to keep young people in line through communication and awareness-raising, but we think that we need to go beyond simple awareness-raising. Because nowadays young people see and hear what is happening elsewhere and they all want to evolve and take advantage of the opportunities that the world offers. But this has a cost and we do not have the means to keep the youth on dry land.”

    Gao, Gabero: "We need to strengthen our own protection, protection for the population in general and for leaders in particular. Targeted killings can affect people' s commitment. Our major concern these days is security." 

    Est, Diabo: "The traditional and religious authorities play a crucial role in that they are information transmission channels about the situation.”

    Est, Fada: “We don't have the tools to prevent members of this community from joining armed groups. We can't. It's up to the state to create the right conditions for everyone to be self-sufficient with the resources we have.”

    Sahel, Dori: “In the area of security, traditional and religious leaders can only do so much in the face of armed men, sometimes they are even targeted“

    Centre-Nord, Kongoussi: “The traditional authorities have a very great influence on the youth. This influence is due to the fact that these authorities are opinion leaders and custodians of traditional and religious values. When a chief or a religious leader asks people not to do this or that, they have a strong chance of being listened to and followed. […] Traditional and religious leaders sensitize the youth on the evils and harmful consequences of terrorism on social cohesion. In addition, traditional leaders do not hesitate to curse young people who try to join terrorist groups. Generally, young people are afraid of suffering the fate of their ancestors and dismiss the possibility of terrorism.”


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    Tillabéri, Gotheye: "The role of traditional and religious authorities in the field of security in the municipality is to raise awareness in the communities. They intervene on the community radio to call for vigilance and peace."

    Tillabéri, Bankilare: "We have also set up vigilance committees around the traditional chiefs to try to have a large and efficient intelligence network to support our security and defense forces. The members of the vigilance committees, as well as the traditional chiefs and informers, are trained and made aware of how to collect, verify and pass on information in a context of insecurity."

    Est, Kantchari: “Religious and traditional authorities can help the community to deal with violence through collaboration with the security forces because some people do not give information to security agents for fear of being executed by these bandits.”

    Est, Bogande: "To prevent members of our municipality, especially young people, from joining bandits or armed groups, we have set up training workshops in manual activities for young people in sewing, carpentry, masonry, mechanics, etc. And at each training session we give them advice on how to never give in to ease. And at each training session, we give them advice to never give in to the easy way. Frankly, this initiative is really effective.”

    Est, Gayeri: "We organise inter-religious football competitions regularly. It is initiatives like these that strengthen our solidarity and social cohesion and deter young people from joining these armed groups.”

    Sahel, Sampelga: "In the last 5 years the major crises my family has faced are the security situation due to terrorist attacks and the health crisis related to the corona virus. The one that has had the greatest impact on my community is obviously terrorism, because in addition to the fact that we are constantly on the alert with a feeling of fear because no one is safe, there is the fact that our activities are slowing down, creating a situation of scarcity of food and non-food items, so psychologically there are inevitably the most vulnerable (women, young people, even some men). Everyone's hands are tied, since they forbid us to collaborate with the central authority (local elected officials, police, gendarmerie) no one can do anything, so what the traditional and religious authorities are doing is praying, making sacrifices for the protection of the population, and also advising people to show more solidarity and tolerance.

    Centre-Nord, Mane: "The place of traditional and religious authorities in this area is firstly awareness raising, traditional practices (rituals), and religious practices (prayer)."