The African continent is racked with political conflict involving countries sharing a common border or conflict that is confined within national borders. Conflicts inside a border occur when one or more groups wrangle over natural resources or a region decides to sever ties with a government on ideological, ethnic, marginalization or policy differences. Ethiopia and Sudan’s failure to satisfactorily address the grievances of outlying regions for one-half century steered those regions to war, resulting in Eritrea and South Sudan separating to form new nations.
Secession movements have manifested in Casamance (Senegal), Cabinda (Angola), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Somaliland (Somalia) and Western Sahara (the disputed territory bordering Morocco). Fifty years after Nigeria’s then Eastern Region declared itself the Republic of Biafra, a move that precipitated a brutal and costly three-year civil war, the country again faces a separatist challenge from the Igbo south east. There is resurgent agitation for an independent Biafra state as many Igbo feel politically and economically marginalised.
It is time African governments in power addressed inclusivity and the simmering discontent within their borders in a sober manner as failure to do so could lead to mayhem with far reaching negative socio-economic and political effects. On the other hand, dialogue and objectivity should be given a chance.