20 killed in Nigeria-Cameroon bor­der clashes

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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 head­ers 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 said 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. (VOA)

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