Central African Republic: high-risk transhumance, social cohesion in danger [3/5]

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Every year at the start of the dry season, tens of thousands of head of cattle leave the Sahelian climate of Chad, Sudan or the northern provinces of the Central African Republic towards the South in search of water, fresh grass to join the big cattle markets. In the region of Ouham Pendé, located in the north-west of the country, this movement of herders is causing conflicts with farmers.

From our correspondent in Bangui,

This year in particular, in addition to the scarcity of resources, the security situation is exacerbating tensions. So much so that some breeders, settled in recent years, are thinking of fleeing the region again.

Janvier Biensona straightens a half-eaten cassava stalk, picks up a handful of trampled sorghum seeds, but puts it into perspective: ” The herd has been there, but the damage is not very important. In general we try to harvest before the transhumance so that there is not much left to destroy in the fields. It’s just a passage. With the breeders who live on site with us, we don’t have any problems, we are used to managing it among ourselves.

Here in the village of Bénankouma, we settle the problems amicably, explains Franco Allaessem. With the Fulani who live here, we sometimes buy them oxen to cultivate our fields. So generally, if their herds destroy our crops, later on they give us a rebate on the price of the oxen.

To listen : Central African Republic: transhumance, a recurring problem

Cohabitation is not so peaceful everywhere

In Nzéréké, 57 km west of Paoua, hundreds of houses have been burnt down following a case of cattle rustling in which armed groups have been involved. ” Because of the security crisis we are witnessing, there is no mechanism to regulate transhumance, deplores Amadou Traoré, head of office of the International Organization for Migration in Paoua. Despite our efforts, the risk is that this year, there aren’t many transhumants coming. Because of this crisis, transhumants also take a lot of risks to feed their livestock.

These tensions will destroy our efforts », Is alarmed Thiébo Wafio Khaïr Abdelhour of the NGO Casal, an association of religious leaders, which works for inter-community mediation. If the transhumant Fulani arrive armed, perhaps there will be clashes with the FACA [les Forces armées centrafricaines, NDLR] who seek to identify who are the “Peuls herders” and who are the “Armed Peuls”. This makes the breeders afraid and some have even left the sub-prefecture.

Following the Khartoum accords in 2019, the USMS – units combining former rebels and soldiers of the regular army – were set up to secure transhumance. They are still not operational.

Also to listen:

♦ Central African Republic: Ouham-Pendé’s economy suffers from border closures [1/5]

♦ Central African Republic: high-risk transhumance, breeders caught in a bind [2/5]

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