N’Djamena – Nineteen people were killed in fighting between herders and farmers in southern Chad earlier this month, according to a new toll released on Tuesday by the local prosecutor’s office.
Tensions between the semi-nomadic Arab herders and sedentary farming folk frequently arise in central and southern Chad, where many inhabitants are armed.
“Nineteen people were killed, 22 injured and 18 arrested,” Lamane Nguessangar, public prosecutor at the court of appeal in Sahr, capital of Moyen-Chari province, told AFP by telephone.
Trouble often occurs when farmers accuse the herders of allowing their animals to eat or trample on their crops in one of the most fertile parts of the country.
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The clashes began with a dispute between a farmer and a herder in Marabe, a small village 500 kilometres (310 miles) southeast of the capital N’Djamena, local authorities said.
Conflict spilled over into two neighbouring villages on September 13 and 14, said Ali Ahmat Akhabache, governor of the province bordering the Central African Republic.
Last week, the governor gave an initial toll of 10 dead and 20 injured, adding that police had managed to restore calm by Thursday.
The nomads generally come from the arid Sahelian regions of northern Chad and seek to settle on more fertile land where they can raise their camels and sheep.