This paper aims to examine the socio-political factors and the influence of spatial reconfiguration and transformation orchestrated by the forceful migration of Bororo herdsmen – a nomadic ethnic group from the Central African Republic into east Cameroon where they are now subsistent farmers. This livelihood transition strategy led to conflict and competition over natural resources with the local inhabitants.
The study draws from ethnographic interviews and participant observation involving security officials and international relief agencies alongside their implementing partners. Data abducted from various stakeholders were further complemented by reports produced by various humanitarian agencies and desk research – evaluation and reinterpretation of what others have written on pastoral peoples.
The paper suggests that humanitarian agencies be aware of “transnational borderland identities” by considering the specificity of particular borderland regions-isolation, underdevelopment and prone to conflict in crises of forced migration. They further need to move from a spatialized “refugee-centric” approach to the conversion of refugee relief into local development projects for refugee hosting areas.
While the problem of resource use conflict caused by the influx of refugees might be local, it highlights regional and global security concerns and articulates the growing recognition of political and environmental factors for national and international security.
The study articulates the need to shift from a spatialized “refugee-centric” regime that directs attention only to one category of social actors in an emergency situation to a more integrative assistance programme so as to erase the fake division of identities as well as to acknowledge the importance of a “border identity” for a more peaceful development aimed at achieving better social interaction between hosts and refugees. While the problem of resource use conflict caused by the influx of refugees might be local, it highlights regional and global security concerns and articulates the growing recognition of political and environmental factors for national and international security.
Vitalis Pemunta, N. and Brice Aristide, A. (2013), "Socio-spatial occupation, conflict and humanitarian assistance for Bororo cross-border migrants in east Cameroon", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 271-288. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-03-2013-0032Download as .RIS
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