1 300 Ivorians seek refuge in Burkina Faso after farming clashes

Ouagadougou - A thousand people have fled Ivory Coast to seek refuge in neighbouring Burkina Faso after clashes between farmers and herdsmen that left at least 17 people dead, officials said on Monday.

A senior official in the Burkinabe province of Noumbiel, on the border with Ivory Coast, said that as of Sunday 1 316 people had sought refuge in the region following the deadly clashes in Bouna, the main town in northeast Ivory Coast.

"Most of them are women and children," added the official, who was reached by telephone.

"We have put in place a crisis cell formed of local authorities and emergency services. We have received emergency goods from Ouagadougou - bedding and food - but it will not be enough to support these people, who continue to arrive."

The clashes broke out in Bouna on Wednesday night. Violent disputes between nomadic herders and farmers, often over grazing and watering rights, are not uncommon, but such a high death toll is rare.

The farmers complain that their fields are ruined by the passage of herds of cattle.

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