22 killed in ethnic violence in southern Chad

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Farmers shelter under a mango tree to avoid the heat and sun, on the road between Adre and Farchana, in the eastern Chad region of Ouaddaï.
Farmers shelter under a mango tree to avoid the heat and sun, on the road between Adre and Farchana, in the eastern Chad region of Ouaddaï.
Amaury HAUCHARD / AFP

At least 22 people have been killed in southern Chad in the latest instance of deadly ethnic violence between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers, the communications minister said Friday.

A curfew was imposed in the Kabbia region where the fighting took place and 66 people were arrested following the incident on Monday and Tuesday, minister and government spokesperson Cherif Mahamat Zene told AFP.

The trigger for the violence was cattle theft, sparked by the animals trampling farmers' fields, another official said.

The clashes left 11 dead on each side - some hit with arrows - and a further 34 injured, the government spokesperson said.

"Several villages on both sides were set on fire," he added.

The confrontation began despite the local prefect's mediation efforts on Monday.

Tensions between indigenous settled farmers and nomadic Arab herders in the arid Sahel have simmered for years, occasionally erupting into deadly clashes.

Most of the violence follows a similar script: herders, sometimes crossing the border from Sudan, drive their stock on to farmers' fields, damaging crops and sparking a confrontation between the communities.

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