AT least 19 people were killed in a flare-up of fighting between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers in south Chad last week, authorities said.
Deadly inter-communal conflicts are relatively frequent in Chad, mainly between herders and local farmers who accuse them of grazing animals on their farmland.
Chad, a regional power and ally of the West against Islamist militants in West Africa, has been in turmoil since ex-president Idriss Deby was killed on the frontline against rebels in the north last year.
The latest violence broke out in the southern rural region of Moyen-Chari, more than 480 kilometres (298 miles) from the Central African country’s capital N’Djamena.
“We regret this conflict that caused dozens of deaths and around 20 wounded,” government spokesman Abderamane Koulamallah said.
Moyen-Chari governor Ali Ahmat Akhabache said earlier that at least 19 people were killed and 22 wounded in three days of clashes in five villages last week.
The fighting started after farmers belonging to the Sara Kaba ethnic group accused herders of destroying their sorghum crops, according to witnesses. Villages and fields were set on fire as terrified residents fled into the surrounding bush.
Koulamallah said the army was deployed to restore order.
“We fear for our lives at every moment… There is no security in isolated villages,” farmer Gossassou Njaha told Reuters. an ad
Similar inter-communal clashes in Moyen-Chari in February left around a dozen people dead.