Voinjama Report, January 2021
On January 18, members of everyday gandhis (Voinjama team) embarked on a two-day trip to Macenta, Guinea; where there was a tribal conflict between the Lorma and Mandingo about who indigenously owns Macenta. In this case, eg was not interested in the root cause of the conflict but rather to bring peace and harmony to the two ethnic groups in the region.
During the trip, we first visited a Mandingo town (Konadou) at the border in Liberia where we met with the town chief, Varlee Kamara and asked him to organize a quick meeting with the town. In the forum, we talked to them about the importance of maintaining peace in the region. They were so grateful to have us and promised not to join the tribal dispute. Having experienced much conflict and war, they decided they would no longer engage in it. The cheif said, "we that are living around the border with Guinea have been living in peace with intermarriage, doing everything in common as a family so if we join the conflict, it is like destroying ourselves."
To show us that they live as a family, the town chief of Konadou and the chairlady (Fatu Tulay) took us to Kortezou, one of the bordering towns in Guinea. There, we met the youth leader (Ballay Gougoue), who, together with Mr. Varlee Kamara, organized a town meeting. At the forum, he introduced the eg team. We then laid out the importance of peace in the region, which they acknowledged was necessary to maintain. We made clear to them that they will live together forever, and therefore it was essential to stop seeing one tribe as a foreigner or stranger. Also, the government of Guinea is not coming to resolve their dispute, and so they must learn to see each other as one big family and live together in peace and harmony.
Kortezou, Ballay, and the chairlady, Memuna Fofana (making the genders balanced) joined the eg team to Macenta. In Macenta, we met with the city mayor and introduced ourselves as a peacebuilding organization from Liberia and presented our mission. The mayor's office highly appreciated our intervention and quickly organized a meeting where the two tribes involved in the conflict were represented. During the meeting, we vividly explained to them the significance of maintaining peace between them and the region in general. We told them for generations you have been living together and generations to come you will live together, so let us live in peace and harmony. We also told them that solving your problem is best rather than waiting for governments to come in. In the meeting, many of them acknowledged that Liberia and Guinea are two sisters' countries, and therefore we must maintain peace between the two countries. The people of Guinea were pleased to see Liberians helping to normalize things.
After the meeting, we visited Torkpata, where the entire conflict erupted and was highly affected by the conflict; both tribes live in this community. We also saw some victimized people from both tribes, such as Mr. Musa Kamara, who lost two of his brothers (Janga Kamara and Seleke Kamara); Mr. Zubah Govigov, who lost his wife (Kormassa Govigov); and Mr. Abrim Keita with a bullet in his arms and chest at the hospital. According to our sources, more than sixty people lost their lives in the conflict.
To prevent future conflict in the region, peace should be sustained in regional countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia). eg can achieve this by activating the Mobile Peace Team between the three countries to maintain peace in the region, which we remain committed to as a peacebuilding organization. Finally, the people of Macenta were so glad for our increased efforts and requested a regular peaceful visit and joint activities.
The team members:
Mamadee G Kamara
Morris S. Kamara
Others who joined the team:
· Varlee Kamara
· Fatu Tulay
· Ballay Gougoue
· Memuna Fofana
The eg Voinjama Team