Many killed in clashes between farmers and herders in Ivory Coast

Clashes between farmers and herders in Ivory Coast kill 19, injure 41 including two police officers, authorities say

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A security officer walks on the beach after an attack in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast.

Clashes between arable farmers and nomadic herdsmen in northeast Ivory Coast have left 19 people dead, authorities announced on Tuesday, raising an earlier estimate of last week's violence.

"Calm has been restored, but the estimate is 19 dead including a police officer, 41 injured including two police officers," the country's social cohesion minister Mariatou Kone said, revising the previous estimate of 17 deaths.

It is thought that some of the victims were killed with machetes while others were burnt to death.

The clashes in the city of Bouna also displaced 3,000 people from the herding community, mostly women and children, he said.

"I call for calm and ask that the population does not take matters into its own hands," added Kone, who accused "bandits of profiting from the situation".

Security sources have blamed heavily armed "Dozo" hunters of escalating the conflict, confirming that one of the group's leaders is being sought in connection with the violence.

Violent disputes between nomadic herders and farmers 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.

Around 900 defence and security personnel were deployed in Bouna to restore order following the clashes on Thursday.