At least ten people have been killed in fresh fighting between nomadic herders and farmers in southern Chad, a local prosecutor said Sunday, with the most of the deaths happening during a funeral.
The herders claimed to have lost a cow and tracked it down to a farm, said Brahim Ali Kolla, prosecutor in Moundou, Chad’s second-largest city and capital of the southwest province.
The herders sent a representative to reclaim the animal on Thursday but he was killed and the farmers attacked the herdsmen at his funeral the same day, he added.
Clashes between settled farmers and the nomadic Arab herders, many of them armed, are a worsening problem in the arid Sahel, where tensions over access to land are frequent.
Much of the violence occurs when herders, sometimes crossing the border from Sudan, drive their stock onto the field of a so-called sedentary farmer, trampling crops and sparking a confrontation between the two communities.
On Thursday ten people were killed in all, including the man who was being buried, said the prosecutor, upon his return to Moundou on Sunday from the scene of the fighting some 60 kilometres away.
All the victims were nomadic Arab herders, he added.
Forty-three people involved in the violence were arrested, including six local canton and village chiefs.
On Monday, in another part of southern Chad, three herders and eight farmers were killed in fighting.
Southern Chad, with its milder climate, has long attracted pastoralists from the Sahel desert areas to the north.