At least 32 people have been killed and 19 villages burned this month in clashes between herders and fishermen in northern Cameroon, according to the United Nations. On Thursday, a refugee agency said.
A UNHCR report says on Aug. 10 violence broke out between Choa Arab herders and Mousgoum fishermen and farmers, leading to the displacement of more than 11,000 people to Chad. Another 7,300 fled to Cameroon’s Far North.
The fighting was described as the worst ethnic violence in Cameroon in years.
According to a local official, the herders were angry that their livestock had fallen into holes fishermen had dug to capture fish in pools of receding floodwater.
UNHCR reported that refugees in Chad were in urgent need of shelter, sleeping under trees.
According to UNHCR’s regional director Millicent Mutuli, “(UNHCR) calls on the governments concerned to do everything possible to reduce the tensions between the communities that caused this displacement and to ensure the safety of those forced to flee.”
Ethnic violence further complicates security in a region where Cameroon’s army has been battling Boko Haram and Islamic State militants for years.