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27 dead as farmers, herders clash in Chad


Agency Report

At least 27 people were killed in weekend fighting between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders in eastern Chad, a poor Sahel country where such clashes are frequent, the justice minister said.

The clashes took place Sunday in the villages of Kidji-Mina and Tiyo, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Chad’s second largest city Abeche, itself some 700 kilometres northeast of the capital N’Djamena.

“Traditional leaders sold land (to herders) in 2017… but the indigenous farmers, the Ouaddaiens, contest this sale,” the minister, Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo, told AFP by telephone.

“They’re fighting over an area of 25 square kilometres (some 6,000 acres),” added the minister, who is in Abeche at the head of a government delegation seeking to “calm the situation”.

He added that the fighting on Sunday claimed 27 lives.

“These conflicts over land continue to kill,” the minister said on his Facebook page. “Chadians are killing each other over plots of land.”

Alhabo could not say which side started the clashes. “We listened to the different sides but we haven’t found a solution.”

Intercommunal violence is common in Chad, where many inhabitants have weapons.

Most of the violence is sparked when herders, sometimes crossing the border from Sudan, drive their stock onto farmers’ fields, damaging crops.

Nomads are increasingly seeking to settle on land that is conducive to raising camels and sheep.

In early August, 22 people died in similar circumstances some 200 kilometres east of N’Djamena, and fighting left 35 dead in the more fertile south in February.