By Vatican News staff writer
At least thirty-five people were killed in clashes between farmers and semi-nomadic herders in southeastern Chad, a region where friction between the two groups is common, according to Chadian authorities.
The fighting occurred in the Salamat province, where farmers were attacked when they encountered an illegal roadblock, provincial secretary-general Mara Maad said on Wednesday. In the attack against the farmers, one of them was killed and two were injured.
The farmers, blaming the cattle herders for the roadblock, launched an attack on them, prompting authorities to send in troops to restore order. This retaliatory attack led to the deaths of 35 people.
Conflicts between farmers and herders
The semi-nomadic herders and sedentary farmers in southern Chad have a long-running troubled history.
Many of the conflicts are due to the region’s lush vegetation produced by the relatively mild climate for the Sahel. For centuries, the region has attracted migratory cattle herders from arid areas for seasonal grazing, many of them Arabs. Episodes of violence often erupt following the destruction of crops by livestock.
Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno said in a speech in December that he was “distressed and dismayed” by the deadly clashes between the two groups.
In November 2020, at least 22 people were killed in farmer-herder clashes in Kabbia, which is also located in Chad’s southern region, while nearly 50 were killed in separate ethnic clashes across Chad between December and January.