Thousands Flee to Chad After Communal Violence in Cameroon

Not less than 11,000 people, mostly women, and children have fled inter-communal clashes between fishermen and herders in Cameroon.

According to the humanitarian organization, they arrived in neighboring Chad over the weekend.

Twelve people were killed and dozens wounded in the violence, the deadliest intercommunal violence in the country in contemporary times in the Far North region, a tongue of land wedged between Nigeria to the west and Chad to the east.

The United Nations refugee agency’s Deputy Director in Chad, Iris Blom disclosed that “the pressing needs are for health services, shelter, and food,”

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in Chad and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations said those who arrived are settled in different villages in Chari Baguim province

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Clashes broke out last week between Mousgoum fishermen and Arab Choa herders in a dispute about water holes the fishermen dug in the ground.

The Governor of the Far North region of Cameroon, Midjiyawa Bakari, told state broadcaster Cameroon Radio Television that the dispute arose from a trivial issue before degenerating into a deadly scuffle in the Logone and Chari division of the region that borders Chad and Nigeria.

“It started as a dispute between Mousgoum fishermen and Arab Choa cattle rearers over a water source,”. He said the fishermen had erected dikes to develop their fishing grounds where the Arab Choa shepherds take their cattle to drink water in Zina, near the border with Chad.

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Authorities in Cameroon have deployed the military to the area and are holding peace meetings with representatives of the two communities.

Governor Bakari said they have used traditional rulers and other local authorities to talk to the communities and relative calm had returned to the areas.

Deadly clashes between communities like that of August 10 are relatively rare in Cameroon but common in neighboring countries like Chad, where farmer-herder clashes left at least 22 people dead and 18 injured on August 7.

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