Voice of America (Washington, DC)

24 April 2014

West Africa: Farmers, Ranchers Clash On Nigeria-Cameroon Border

Younde — At least 20 people are reported dead and thousands have fled Cameroonian villages on the border with Nigeria following a conflict between armed Nigerian cattle ranchers and Cameroon farmers.

Eyewitnesses say hundreds of Fulani herdsmen fleeing conflicts in Nigeria's Taraba and Benue states reacted violently when Cameroon village farmers called for them to leave the area.

Cameroonian member of parliament Walang Richard tells VOA the Fulani were armed and caught the villages by surprise on Tuesday.

"These guys are heavily armed. Heavily armed, I repeat. They have burned down schools, they have burned down houses, they have destroyed crops, it is a disturbing issue," he said.

The villages involved include Efung, Afu, Gayama and Mayi, situated about 20 kilometers from the nearest military post.

This is not the first violent incident involving Fulani herdsmen who have long been embroiled in conflicts over land rights with regional farmers. In 2012, they raided the village of Baoro. Cameroon's government responded by creating a military post in that village.

Walang says more needs to be done to protect citizens in his district. He also says the number of dead is probably higher than what the military initially reported - given that people have been scattered on both sides of the border.

"They are so many. There are even some we are looking for and not seeing. They are taking the thing lightly, but we must secure our border," he said.

Cameroonian soldiers have been deployed along the country's borders to deal with violent spillovers from the conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.