Five villagers killed in Chad region hit by ethnic violence

By: AFP      Published: 12:26 AM, 7 Mar, 2020
Five villagers killed in Chad region hit by ethnic violence

Gunmen killed five villagers in an eastern region of Chad plagued by deadly ethnic violence between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers, local officials said Friday.

The attack took place on Thursday near the Sudan border in the Sila region, where President Idriss Deby lifted a state of emergency in January in hopes the violence had abated.

“The villagers were returning from the market last night and they were brutally fired upon,” Sila governor N’Dimabeal Boyalnar Gaucher said, without specifying the identity of the attackers.

“The same scenario occurred four months ago” in the same place,” he told AFP.

Tensions between indigenous settled farmers and nomadic Arab herders in the arid Sahel have simmered for years, sometimes erupting into deadly clashes.

Most of the violence follows a similar script: herders, sometimes crossing the border from Sudan, drive their stock onto the field of a sedentary farmer, trampling crops and sparking a confrontation between the two communities.

The deaths of five sedentary farmers in the Kalkado area were confirmed to AFP by a local chief and a senior official, both on condition of anonymity.

Sila’s governor said that security forces have been deployed and an investigation launched to try to find the culprits.

“The first person was killed in front of an oasis and the other four, 20 to 30 minutes later,” he said.

“This incident comes after the state of emergency was lifted—the government must strengthen security forces to stave off incursions” from Sudan, he added.

In January, Deby’s government lifted a five-month state of emergency on Tibesti province in the north and Ouaddai and Sila in the east.

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