Clashes between fishermen and herders in Cameroon’s Far North region over the past week have killed 32 people and forced thousands to flee to neighbouring Chad, the UN said Thursday.
“A total of 19 villages were burned,” in the violence in the Logone-Birni district near the border, according to the UN Refugee Agency, which said the fighting “caused the death of 32 people and injured 74”.
“In Cameroon, local authorities in the Far North are working to restore calm and are providing assistance to victims,” the UN said.
The clashes between Choa Arab herders and Mousgoum fishermen were caused by tensions overfishing and agricultural resources.
Machetes, knives, and arrows were used in the violence, according to a local authority in Logone-Birni contacted by AFP.
The clashes forced 11,000 people from both communities to seek refuge across the border in Chad.
“These displaced persons are 85 percent women and children,” Iris Blom, UNHCR’s deputy chief in Chad, told AFP.
Around 7,300 people are displaced within Cameroon.
“In Chad, the new arrivals are in urgent need of shelter, especially during the rainy season. Many are sleeping under trees and some have taken refuge in schools or host families,” according to the UN, which said “food and water needs remain pressing”.
The governor of the Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakari, said the initial spark for the deadly clashes was a “trivial” incident between two individuals.
Bloody clashes between communities are relatively rare in Cameroon, but frequent in nearby Chad.
At least 22 people were killed on August 7 in a conflict in Chad between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders.