Deadly Clashes in Chad: 23 Killed in Herder-Farmer Conflict

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According to the communications minister, a seven-day deadly conflict between nomadic Arab herders and indigenous sedentary farmers has resulted in the deaths of 23 people.

At least 23 individuals lost their lives during a week-long confrontation between herders and farmers in southern Chad, as confirmed by Communications Minister Abdraman Koulamallah on Monday.

The escalation began following the reported "murder" of a man from an Arab community, igniting clashes that spanned from March 21 to 27 in three villages within the Moyen-Chari region: Balwaï, Kolo, and Balkoutou, as disclosed by Koulamallah to AFP.

According to the minister, the victim's clan retaliated by attacking the Sara-Kaba farming community, resulting in the deaths of 14 individuals, including four women and two children.

Additionally, nine members of the Arab community lost their lives during the week-long clashes.

Koulamallah, however, assures that calm has returned, mentioning that 21 individuals have been arrested in connection with the violence.

"Investigations are continuing to find all the perpetrators, co-perpetrators, and accomplices of these crimes," the minister stated.

The recent conflict follows a similar one that resulted in the deaths of 42 people in the desert east of Chad.

Increasingly, disputes over grazing fields and land ownership are fueling clashes between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders in the Sahelian region.

In the arid Sahel, conflicts between settled farmers and nomadic Arab herders, often armed, are escalating due to frequent disputes over land access.

These clashes typically occur when herders, sometimes crossing from Sudan, drive their livestock onto the fields of sedentary farmers, leading to crop damage and confrontations between the two groups.

In 2020, fresh clashes between nomadic herders and farmers in southern Chad resulted in the deaths of at least ten individuals, as reported by a local prosecutor. The majority of these fatalities occurred during a funeral.

According to Brahim Ali Kolla, the prosecutor in Moundou, Chad's second-largest city and capital of the southwest province, the herders asserted that they had lost a cow and traced it to a farm.