AFRICA/CHAD - After clashes between shepherds and farmers: Bishop of Sarh calls for justice and solidarity with victims

Saturday, 24 September 2022 bishops   violence   farmers  

N’Djamena (Agenzia Fides) - "Once again blood has been shed on our country. Once again innocent people have died or been injured by the iniquity of a few gunmen. Once again the property of citizens already living in poverty has been destroyed", says Bishop Miguel Angel Sebastián Martinez of Sarh in southern Chad, upon returning from his visit to Kyabé, where clashes broke out a few days ago between rival communities, leaving around a dozen dead and twenty injured.
The bishop demands justice: "God listens to the cries of the unfortunate and will one day do justice. Rest assured". But while waiting for divine justice, "the authorities must act," he insists. "The administrative and judicial authorities, in particular, I call on to tell the truth about what happened. A truth that should not be hidden or manipulated. Without justice, we cannot achieve peace".
The Bishop of Sarh appeals for solidarity with the victims of the clashes, who have lost loved ones and material goods, and with the people who have been forced to flee their villages, which are already threatened by famine as the crops are damaged by the recent floods have been destroyed.
Conflicts between farmers and shepherds are recurrent in the province and often result in deaths. The violence broke out on 13 September after a dispute between a farmer and a herdsman who was accused of herding his flock into his field. Since then, there have been clashes in several villages in five cantons of the Lac Iro department. The clashes left 19 dead, 22 injured and 18 arrested on both sides, according to provincial prosecutors.
According to a July 2021 UN report, community conflicts in Chad left 309 dead and 182 injured, more than 6,500 displaced, destruction of property and livelihoods, and ongoing tensions between communities.
To end these conflicts, the United Nations calls for "long-term solutions that meet the needs of pastoralists, farmers and the general population in terms of availability and access to natural resources and services". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/9/2022)