A recurrence of violence between herders and farmers has killed at least 22 people and injured more than 30 others in Cameroon’s far north area on Thursday, 9 December. This has driven locals to flee to Chad, according to a regional government official.
Hundreds of people have crossed the border into Chad to avoid violence between Arab Choa herders and Mousgoum and Massa farmers, according to Ali Haroun, the mayor of Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.
“We are in a full-on inter-community conflict,” said another Cameroonian regional official to Reuters under the condition of anonymity.
It is believed that the violence erupted over access to water, as the Arab Chao wanted to take their herds to the bank of a river for replenishment. The Mousgoum and Massa allegedly barred them from doing so.
“This problem needs to be resolved quickly because a few months ago, there were already deaths. Today, when there is a problem between two people from different communities, all the communities get involved with weapons,” a traditional leader told The Independent.
Ongoing feud since August
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) acknowledged the parties’ feud, stating the agency had been reacting to the problem since August skirmishes and had assisted the government in holding a reconciliation meeting last week.
According to the UN official, 40 villages engaged in the dispute took part, but on Saturday [4 December], an Arab Choa herder attempted to transport his herd to the river but was stopped by agricultural communities, resulting in a clash between farmers and herders.
Thousands of people were forced to escape to Chad after riots in August killed scores of people.
More than 30 000 Cameroonians have sought sanctuary in Chad, according to Chad’s president Mahamat Idris Deby, who did not clarify if they were all fleeing the new round of violence on Twitter.
Deby encouraged the international community to assist Chad cope with the crisis as soon as possible.