AFRICA/TOGO- Caritas and "Justice and Peace" project to prevent conflict on the Togo-Benin border

Friday, 6 October 2023 human promotion   peace  

Lomé (Fides News agency) - The cross-border project "Nuwaki Togo-Benin", implemented by the Episcopal Council for Justice and Peace of the Togolese Diocese of Dapaong in collaboration with Caritas Natitingou (Benin), has been launched with the support of the Catholic Releif Services (CRS), the German "PATRIP" Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation with a funding of 1. 244,000,000 CFA francs and will be implemented in the communities of Matéri in Benin and Kpendjal 1 and Oti South 1 in Togo with a duration of 20 months.
The project aims to promote stability and conflict prevention along the Benin-Togo border in southern Burkina Faso by strengthening social cohesion and cross-border cooperation.
In Togo, the project includes the construction of new economic and social infrastructure adapted to climate change, such as drilling and storage facilities. An education campaign is being organized for young people, women and local authorities to promote social cohesion. About one thousand farmers and ranchers will be trained in agricultural and environmental practices and natural resource management. During the official opening ceremony, five field motorcycles, computer equipment and cell phones were handed over to the project staff.
The prefect of Kpendjal, Kolani Lamboni Fartongue, expressed his gratitude to "Justice and Peace" and its partners for their daily commitment to vulnerable communities in line with the government's National Development Program.
For their part, the representative of the Diocese of Dapaong, Father Dieudonné Banleman Douti, and the coordinator of the PATRIP project, Namitchougli Gbayogue, thanked the government and the partners for their contribution to the implementation of the project.
In the northern areas of Togo and Benin, which border each other and are close to the respective border with Burkina Faso, human trafficking and terrorist attacks from Burkina are widespread. Most recently, a total of 12 soldiers from the Togolese armed forces were killed in a jihadist attack not far from Dapaong on July 12.
Traffickers and terrorists are also taking advantage of the border dispute between Benin and Burkina Faso in the Kourou-Koualou region, which until February of this year meant that there was no government presence in the area. Because of the administrative and security vacuum, the area became a de facto lawless space. This situation paved the way for extremist groups to gradually establish themselves in eastern Burkina Faso since 2018.
The collaboration between traffickers and extremists in Kourou-Koualou has allowed the groups to obtain the fuel needed for transportation and to launch attacks. It has also allowed terrorists to raise funds from payments made by traffickers in exchange for protection and security in the smuggling area. (LM) (Fides News agency 6/10/2023)