Reading State through humanitarian a perspective: Boko Haram "ruralities war" and population displacement in the Lake Chad region
Date and Start Time 30 June, 2017 at 09:00
By focusing on massive population movements in the Lake Chad region, the panel proposes to analyze the war on Boko Haram from the perspective of interaction between States and humanitarian organizations embedded in different political national histories on violence and population control.
Since 2011, Boko Haram attacks have resulted in the unprecedented displacement of more than two million people in the four border countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria involved in the war against Boko Haram. The majority of these people live outside humanitarian camps, in the rural areas with poor accessibility, dispersed in local villages or gathering on spontaneous sites, scattered and extremely precarious.
Specific conditions of the war with no defined front line, internal and cross-border circulation—suggest a possibility of confusion between displaced people and armed enemy. In this situation, the security concerns tend to categorize population on good, bad or suspected victims. This has an effect on the way the humanitarian assistance may be provided, thus worsening the already perilous conditions of the population. Furthermore, located in more secured areas, the humanitarian organizations are brought to delegate their operations to local and State actors. This configuration contributes to progressively redefine historical fields of competence between States and humanitarian organizations working in the area. How do these dynamics help to understand what is at stake in those "ruralities" war?
The panel welcomes papers that examine field practices of different actors, institutional and informal connections between States and humanitarian organizations, as well as the role of religious issues in this war. Contributions that take into consideration the historical trajectory of States (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria) in terms of their relation to violence, population control and humanitarian aid will be appreciated.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
The centralized Chadian State's response to a localized rural conflict within a global context of war against terrorism and of humanitarian assistance
The Chadian government has adopted a strong military response against Boko Haram and let the humanitarians cover civil populations’ needs. Security issues in the Lake Chad region constitutes only one factor among others to reach a holistic comprehension of this multidimensional crisis.
Since February 2015, Chad has lead the regional military response against Boko Haram. Several incursions of Boko Haram in Cameroon in 2014 and its strong presence in the Borno state in Nigeria have led neighboring countries to contain the threats on their own national territory and interests. Chad was concerned not only because of the security risks but also for the economic impact. Repetitive attacks in Northern Cameroon have represented a direct menace on the commercial road from N'Djamena to Douala, the major harbor for the Chadian import-export.
After a strategy of aerial bombardments in Nigeria, the Chadian National Army has deployed ground troops in the Lake Chad region to prevent and stop terrorists' infiltrations through this border area. To create this new "war zone", the government had to evacuate civil population from their villages. Basically, the Chadian government let humanitarian actors take charge of the impact of the conflict on internal displaced people, Chadian returnees from Nigeria, refugees, and host communities.
Buduma ethnic group present in the Lake region is considered with suspicion by the Chadian authorities because of supposed social links with Boko Haram members. Surrenders occurred in November/December 2016 also created new challenges for militaries and humanitarians.
The current crisis is considered in Chad as multidimensional, insofar as the security risk due to Boko Haram has been the last straw that broke the camel's bag, in a context of chronical food and nutrition insecurity, environmental degradation, agro-pastoral tensions, deficit of basic services and lack of sustainable livelihoods.
"Visions of State and humanitarian aid in the Lake Chad region: the Boko Haram crisis, patterns of displacement and the outcomes of a frontless war"
The contribution aims to research about the outcomes of the Boko Haram crisis in the lifestyle of different displaced communities in the Lac Tchad region: the resettlement dyanamic, the perception of State and NGOs role and the evolution of the frontless war against the terrorist-criminal group.
From 2013 the Boko Haram crisis resulted in a vast displacing movement of more than 2 million people in the Lake Chad area. A great afflux of more or less 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees has interested the Lac region of Chad. This region is experiencing a prolonged food insecurity, influnced by drought and repeated crop failures, which has been greatly aggravated by the closing of transborder trade with neighbouring countries. Meanwhile the military deployment disposed by the Lake Chad Basin Commission all over the lake has greatly accelerated the pattern of displacement of several thousands islanders, mainly Buduma, which have found a new home in temporary settlements in the mainland. These shelters have now fostered a resettlement process linked to the provision of services by NGOs: medical services, formal and informal schooling and the assignment of food vouchers and pocket money. This situation has produced a double dynamic: while many IDPs and refugees seek to exploit as long as possibile the opportunities provided by NGOs and the relatively easy access to urban centres hitherto unknown, many see their living conditions very limited by the humanitarian machine's constraints. Drawing from fieldwork conducted in six different IDPs and refugees sites in the Mamdi prefecture of Lac Tchad region, this contribution aims to reflect on local perception of State and NGOs interventions, about the progressive redefinition of competences between State and non-State actors and about the evolution of the so-called Boko Haram war in the wide Lake Chad area.
The Humanitarian Resource in Counterinsurgency: Between security regulation and humanitarian goals.
This contribution aims to show the forms of governmentality aroused by the control of humanitarian resource by the state in northern Cameroon ant its consequences on humanitarian goals.
For the Cameroonian government, one of the problems posed by the provision of food to refugees and displaced people in the border areas of northern Cameroon in improvised camps consists in preventing the food allowances they receive from being recycled in the clandestine channels of trafficking for the benefit of the insurgents of Boko Haram. Indeed, in this configuration, the products of the humanitarian intervention constitute an important resource on which the insurrectionary and counter-insurgency strategies crystallize. For the State, control of access to the humanitarian resource justifies a number of measures, including the scrupulous identification of beneficiaries, the rationing of quantities and the systematic repression of any movement of this resource. To achieve this, the State deploys various strategies, mobilizes various actors and practices. We will first show who are these actors and the forms of governmentality aroused by the tensions surrounding the specific issue of control of this resource by the State. Secondly, we will see that these modalities of securing the humanitarian resource tend to transform it into a resource for legitimizing the systems of power mobilized by the State in the counterinsurgency to the detriment of humanitarian goals.
In the search of consensus: public and humanitarian actors (re)-constructing the humanitarian response in the southeast of Niger
The paper discusses the construction of the humanitarian response in the southeast of Niger. It focuses on the interaction between public authorities and humanitarian actors while putting it in the historical context of "humanitarian crisis" and political concerns regarding territory control.
Since first major attacks of Boko Haram in the cities of Diffa and Bosso in February 2015, the number of displaced people in southeast of Niger has been rapidly growing. According to Niger authorities (Dec. 2016) there are about 241 000 refugees, returnees and internally displaced people who face increased vulnerability due to the lack of shelter, food and important pressure on water resources. The paper examines the construction of the humanitarian response while putting it in the historical context of "humanitarian crisis" due to successive Sahel droughts and armed-rebellions. Diverse actors are engaged on different levels in the humanitarian response in Diffa: public, traditional and religious authorities, European Union, UN, NGOs as well as aid beneficiaries who is partly involved in the implementation process. Basing on the fieldwork conducted in 2016 and 2017, the contribution proposes to reflect on the zones of conflict, competition and collaboration between different forms of state authority and humanitarian actors on central and local levels. Do humanitarian actors tend to monopolize State's fields of competence, to replace or even to act in place of the state actors? To what extent state actors use security concerns to assure better control over its public policies and on the population? What do these tensions and conflicts reveal in terms of perceptions of the Boko Haram war? The paper proposes reading the humanitarian response in Diffa through these interactions, visions and appropriations.
Criminogenic Patterns in the Management of Boko Haram's Humanitarian Displacement Crisis.
This paper examines the concrete living conditions of displaced persons from Boko Haram's insurgency in north eastern Nigeria, portending the grave danger which (mis)management of the displacement situation poses to state and humanitarian efforts of curbing the humanitarian crisis.
This paper interrogates the internal displacement caused by the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the military counter-insurgency actions against the organization. The research brings to fore the (mis)management of the displacement situation, linking the responses of the state and other actors to thematic analogies reflective of state failure, politicization of aid, degenerative governance, and the positive functions of poverty for the non-poor. With over 1.9m persons displaced, the humanitarian crisis is at teeter ends, with acute malnourishment, zero wash and non-relief materials, improper hygiene and lack of access to basic relief aid. The array of humanitarian organizations belie the concrete living conditions of displaced persons, and calls to question the huge resources assumed to be expended on managing the humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria. This study utilizes qualitative data gathering approach to explicate the lived realities of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and repatriated refugees in designated camps in Maiduguri. The paper argues that a criminogenic profit-making structure has been invented in the management of the displacement situation. A cyclical pattern is highlighted: This structure is constituted by and constitutive of the misery of the IDPs. The latter includes poor or non-existing services and wanton sale of relief materials in the underground market by ghost IDPs and officials of government agencies. The paper argues that this situation portends grave risks for state efforts to combat Boko Haram, as it may result in renewed grievances against the government.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.