Violence Escalates In Cameroon; 30,000 Flee To Chad

Competition For Water Resources Acknowledged

7 Jan 2022 by The Water Diplomat
YAOUNDE, Cameroon

An outbreak of violence between herders, fishermen and farmers over water resources in Northern Cameroon last month (Dec 2021) has led more than 80,000 locals to flee to seek safety, according to UN refugee agency.

The escalating violence, which broke out in the border village of Ouloumsa, spread to ten neighbouring villages that have been wiped out completely. At least 22 deaths and 30 serious injuries have been recorded.

UNHCR representative in Chad, Papa Kysma Sylla told AFP news agency: "There are now 82,000 Cameroonian refugees who have crossed the Chari River".  Women account for around 80% of new arrivals. The river is the regional border between Chad and Cameroon.

Significant violence in Cameroon has been ongoing, with 45 deaths being recorded in August 2021 and an influx of 10,000 refugees into Chad as a result.

Cameroonian authorities have reported that the recent confrontations broke out between fishermen of the Musgum community and ethnic Arab Choa cattlemen over water management and access.

With people continuing to arrive in Chad, pressure has been mounting on the African country which is home to 17 million people and an estimated one million refugees and internally displaced families.

Chad’s military government leader Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno described the situation as “worrying” in a statement calling on "the international community to act promptly to provide urgent assistance to these new refugees".

According to the UNHCR there is a critical lack of financial resources available in both countries to respond to the current situation, with UNHCR’s requirements for 2021 in Cameroon ($99.6 Million USD) and Chad ($141 Million USD) only just over half funded.