Resource-Based Conflict and Mechanisms of Conflict Resolution in Gedarif State - Sudan

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* Mutasim Bashir Ali (University of Gadarif)

1. Introduction

This report attempts to illustrate some aspect of the resource-based conflicts in Gedarif State, focusing specifically on conflicts between farmers and herders. It also highlights the mechanisms of conflict resolution in the state. The first section in this report shed light on the general characteristics of the state such as: location, administrative set up, environment and ecology, population and ethnic profile, natural resources potentialities, economy and land use in the state. The second section provides information about the situation of resource-based conflict in the state, exploring the types, causes of conflicts, parties involved in conflicts and mechanisms of conflict resolution.

2. General Characteristics of Gedarif State

A. Location and administrative set up

Gedarif state is located in the eastern part of Sudan between latitudes 12´ 40´ and 15º 40´ N. and longitudes 33º 30´ and 36º 30´ E. It has international borders with Eritrea in the northeast and with Ethiopia in the east and southeast. It covers an area of 71.000 Km2.

The state was established according to Tenth Republican Decree and as a result of implementation of the federal system in Sudan, when Sudan was administratively divided into 26 Federal States in February 1994. Formerly it was a part of what was called the Eastern Region, which was composed of the present Red Sea State, Kassala State and Gedarif State.

The administrative divisions of the state constitute 5 localities (see Table III.1) and each locality is divided into many administrative units and the biggest centre in the locality is considered its administrative head quarters. The capital of the state is Gedarif town; the Wali (Governor) is the overall head of the state government with 6 ministers in the government of the state.

Table (III.1)
Localities and Their Capitals in Gedarif State Administrative HQLocality
Fao1. Gedarif
2. Gallabat
3. Rahad
4. Fashaga
5. Fao
Source: The fieldwork

The traditional (native) administration (nazara) has long history in the state that goes back to the 19th century when the Turks colonised Sudan. It affects and is affected by its surrounding socio-cultural environment. It rested on series of ordinances that transferred powers to tribal and rural communities.

The system consists of three administrative tiers with the upper most being Nazirs, who are in charge of the entire tribal administrative and judicial affairs. In most cases Nazirs are assisted by Omdas who are usually heads of tribal subsections. At the bottom we find Sheikhs who are village or camp headman. All these administrators were granted legal powers to maintain law and order and to collect taxes in their respective communities, but in addition, the Nazir and some Omdas may also be given legal powers to settle disputes between individuals and communities. There are (5) Nazaras in the state: Nazara of Dubbaniya, Nazara of Galaa El Nahal, Nazara of Shukriya, Nazara of Dar Bakor and the deputy Nazara of Beni Amir.

B. Geography, ecology and resources potentialities

The geography of the state is characterised by vast, flat, fertile, clay lands interrupted by numbers of scattered hills of low and medium height, about 10 million feddan of this land are arable lands. This makes the state one of the biggest areas of agricultural activity in Sudan.

Beside the arable lands the state has natural ranges and pastures with an area of 4.8 million feddan, but the size of ranges and pastures is decreasing as a result of expansion of traditional and modern agriculture. Thus most of the southern part of the state has been without range and pasture and the only area remaining as a rangeland is the Butana plain in the...
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