By Monono Absalom Woloa
The purpose of this write up is to analyse the nature of wars, as well as the organisation and methods of conflict resolution among the Bakweris. It also examines the extent to which colonial administrative policies, along with Christianity, education, end of slave trade and the advent of modern civilization have reduced the probability of wars in Fako Division.
The cause of wars among most traditional societies in Africa have been centered on vengeance and competition for special resources such as farming lands, labour (slaves) hunting grounds, women and mineral wealth such as gold, and more or less with the sophistication of political organisation. Among the Bakweris, the main causes of wars (Njuma as they are known) are generally linked to:
- Firstly, the death of a village citizen in another village through witchcraft or physical elimination. This act was interpreted as an assault on the honour and power of the village concerned. This factor accounted for the 1883 Bimbia - Soppo (Mokongo) war which resulted from the murder of King Williams (Ngomb'a Bille) by some Soppo warriors. In effect, revenge remained one of the major causes of war.
- Another major cause for war among Bakweri villages was economic. The need to acquire certain economic commodities from another village such as foodstuff which that village wanted to preserve exclusively usually led to conflicts. The raid by Wovea on Bomboko and other Bakweri mainland villages in 1890 in which they killed Chief Nganda of Ewovi, due to disagreement over the supply of food attest to the above assertion. In 1884 1885 also, a war broke out between Soppo (Wonganga) and Mapanja. Taking the aspect of trade as a factor, the 1883 Soppo (Woganga) war with Bimbia is also attributed in part to the desire by the Soppo people to reduce the middlemen monopoly position of the Bimbians with regard to trade with Europeans. ...