Charles Nwoke, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Controversy between herdersmen and fishermen in northern Cameroon have resulted to the killing of at least 32 persons this month, with 19 communities destroyed, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee revealed on Thursday.
According to UNHCR, about 11,000 people fled to Chad and more 7,300 were displaced in Cameroon’s Far North after crisis broke out on August 10 between Choa Arab herders and Mousgoum fishermen and farmers.
Cameroonian authorities described the war as Cameroon’s worst ethnic violence over the years.
A local official said, the herders were angry because their livestock was falling into holes dug by fishermen to catch fish in pools of receding floodwaters.
The refugees in Chad were in urgent need of accommodation as many of the internally displaced persons were sleeping under trees, UNHCR said.
“(UNHCR) calls on the governments concerned to do everything possible to reduce the intercommunal tensions that have caused this displacement and to ensure the safety of people forced to flee,” said Millicent Mutuli, a regional director of UNHCR.
The ethnic violence further complicates security situation in a region where Cameroon’s army has been fighting Boko Haram terrorists for years, more recently, insurgents linked to Islamic State West African Province, ISWAP.