YAOUNDE – No less than 32 people have been killed, 74 injured and thousands forced to flee their homes during the most severe inter-communal clashes in Cameroon.
The violence involves Choa Arab herders as well as Mousgoum fishermen and farmers in Missiska, in the Logone Birni district of the Far North region.
A total of 19 villages have been burned down.
Clashes have been recorded since August 10 (this year) following tensions over agricultural, fisheries and pastoral resources.
About 85 percent of 11 000 that have fled to neighbouring Chad are women and children.
Mostly displaced are elderly. In addition, 7 300 people were displaced within Cameroon’s borders in the Logone et Chari department of the Far North.
Millicent Mutuli, the Director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Bureau for West and Central Africa regions, calls on the Cameroonian government to do everything possible to reduce the inter-communal tensions.
In Cameroon, the Far North local authorities said they were working on restoring calm and provide assistance to the victims.
In Chad, the new arrivals are in urgent need of shelter, especially during the rainy season. Many are sleeping under trees. Some have found shelter in schools or with host families.
“There is an urgent need for temporary shelter because most of the new arrivals are women and children exposed to a wide-range of protection risks,” said Iris Blom, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Chad.
The most serious attacks were between the Choa and Mousgoum groups was in 2019 when one person died.
Cameroon is already facing civil strife in the English-speaking regions where communities allege marginalisation by the government of President Paul Biya, dominated by French speakers.
Hundreds have been killed during clashes since 2017.