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Minerals to blame for wars in Great Lakes – minister

Kampala.

The armed conflicts prevalent in the Great Lakes region are a result of unbalanced distribution of resources among communities, State Minister for Minerals Peter Lokeris has said.

Mr Lokeris, speaking yesterday at the ongoing regional Civil Society Orgainsations (CSOs) meeting in Kampala, said the more the region discovers minerals, the more it attracts conflicts.“The security and peace situation in Eastern and Central Africa remains fragile. Across the border, tensions around Uganda-South Sudan, Kenya-Ethiopia among others, still call for concerted efforts to bring about peace. The discovery of oil in Uganda and Kenya, for instance, has started to attract tensions among the communities residing around these regions,’’ Mr Lokeris said.

The minister applauded the role of CSOs in preaching peace, resettling victims of war and providing healthcare and counselling services in the affected regions.

The week-long workshop, organised by Nairobi Peace Initiative – Africa in conjunction with Centre for Conflict Resolution in Uganda, seeks to engage governments to provide African solutions for conflicts in Africa.It also seeks to devise means of averting armed conflicts in the region.

CSOs are also lobbying governments for representation in decision making processes and to provide favourable working conditions for them. They CSOs cited a case of Kivu in Eastern DR Congo where several of their members are being killed, and others threatened by different governments.

regional solutionsSolutions. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, identified certification, harmonisation of national legislation, anonymous alert mechanisms, transparency of extractive Industries, legalisation of traditional mining and establishing database for flow of valuable minerals as the means through which resource-related conflicts can be controlled. Slow strides. However, little has been achieved as the region is afflicted by conflicts from the Allied Democratic Force rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, the M23 in eastern DR Congo and the recent conflict in South Sudan.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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