The traditional Malinké hunters of Ivory Coast commonly known as Dozos, want to carve out a positive image and a new reputation among the Ivorian people. The group is remembered for its role in the 2010 post-election crisis between the current President Alassane Ouattara and his rival Laurent Gbagbo.
Renowned for having mystical powers, the Dozos inspire fear in a fringe of Ivorian society by their traditional ritual clothes adorned with mirrors and also for their African charms.
For Dosso Sory, president of the Dozos brotherhood, it is now time for reconciliation.
“Nobody ever thought that Ivory Coast would ever live through this situation. But when that happened, each social group chose their side. So anybody could buy a Dozo outfit at the market and commit all possible crimes at will because nothing was organized during the crisis. In saying this, I do not question the Dozos’ responsibility. I can not say that the Dozos were not involved in the Ivorina crisis. I hope that this situation never happens again in our country … I would like to ask forgiveness,” he says.
Today, to avoid such acts in the future, the Dozos want to first be nationally recognized. Members of the Dozos brotherhood have been meeting regularly with Ivorians to explain their new “peace strategies”, that of forgiveness and reconciliation. But still, some populations remain suspicious of them.
Laundry Kuyo a lawyer says: “On the issue of reconciliation, we have an opinion that is clear. The judicial solution failed. It did not satisfy and on the contrary, the testimonies were not so convincing. The opinions of one and the other can not be used as evidence. Today, who among us would be able before a serious magistrate to give testimony of what really happened?”
About 41,000 Dozos are spread across the country. For some experts, if the Ivorian state does nothing to formally recognize the Dozos, they could be a major source of trouble in the event of another conflict in future.Follow @muisyo_