Dynamics of Pastoralist Relations at Change: An Exploration into the Causes of Afar -Karrayu Conflict in the Awash Valley

  • A Menbere
Keywords: Afar, basic causes, conflict, dynamics, Karrayu, pastoralists, triggering causes


This study is an exploration of the underlying causes and the dynamics of the conflict between the Afar and Karrayu pastoralists in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia. Its prime objective was to uncover the interplay of causes and dynamics of the conflict between these two ethnic groups. It entirely relied on qualitative method; therefore, used both primary and secondary sources in the process. The primary data was generated through both in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions. The study indicated that the causes of the conflicts in the areas are multiple; relating to socially generated natural resources scarcity, inappropriate development  interventions, cattle rustling and related revenge attacks, culture of violence emanating from cultural values and devaluing of traditional  institutions and resemblance of pastoral lifestyle. Above all, the  marginalization of pastoralists from major political, economic and other considerations, and prejudices attributed to the pastoralist way of life has led to persistent social conflicts. Besides, memories of historical animosities between the Afar and Karrayu ethnic groups served as adhesive glues for the pervasive conflict, mounting negative attitudes and perceptions to each others’ group. The dynamics of these causes across time can be associated with the involvement of various actors with incompatible personal/group interest and needs. In an attempt to address the causes of conflict, efforts have been made so far through formal and informal institutions but in vain. Therefore, peace building endeavors should consider the burning and at times diametrically opposed interests of the parties, and have to address the major cause/s of the conflicts through both changes in attitude and in the application of policies designed within the context of the region that is first consulted and largely approved by the local people.

Key words: Afar, basic causes, conflict, dynamics, Karrayu, pastoralists, triggering causes


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2520-582X
print ISSN: 1810-4487