Death toll in clashes between herders and fishers in Cameroon’s Far North region has increased to 19, many hacked to death with machetes, the region’s governor Midjiyawa Bakari said on Tuesday.
The clashes in the Logone and Chari division of the region began on Sunday between Mousgoum fishermen and Arabchoas cattle ranchers. Bakari said they are fighting over water resources and grazing land to maintain control over their natural habitats.
“This has to stop. (We have come here) to extend our condolences to those who lost their beloved ones and also to those who are injured and who are right now in different hospitals. We are calling each and every one to avoid violence in order to permit development and embrace peace,” Bakari said during a visit to Logone and Chari to diffuse tension.
Villagers have sought refuge in military camps in the region while others have fled across the border into neighboring Chad after the clashes left farms and villages destroyed, authorities said.
On Monday, Bakari told Xinhua by phone that troops have been deployed to the troubled area to maintain peace and order. Cameroon’s Far North has a history of ethnic tensions, but recent clashes are the deadliest, according to local traditional leaders.
In August, 12 people were killed when the two tribes clashed over land and water sources.