The attack on a village by armed men in southern Chad, near the border with the Central African Republic, left 17 people dead on Monday, the Gore prosecutor’s office said on Thursday, opening an investigation.
The “mass killing” was perpetrated Monday at 5:00 am (4:00 am GMT) when “unidentified armed individuals” attacked the village of Don, located in the province of Logone-Oriental, bordering the Central African Republic, about 500 km south of N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, said Nerambaye Ndoubamian, the prosecutor of Chad in Gore in a statement.
The assailants, armed with “firearms” and “bladed weapons”, arrived on the scene on “motorbikes” and “horses”, and “murdered more than a dozen villagers, set fire to huts, kidnapped oxen, and left several wounded”, who were evacuated to the hospital in Goré, the Prosecutor’s Office explained.
In total, 17 people died in the attack, including 11 “formally identified” in the village of Don, three others 3km from the village, and three wounded – including “an infant” – who succumbed to their injuries. Other injured people were treated in “hospitals”, the same source said.
The prosecutor’s office also announced that it had opened an investigation into the murder, criminal conspiracy, arson and aggravated robbery, and issued an appeal for witnesses to identify the perpetrators.
The inhabitants of the village are mainly from the Kabba community, an ethnic group that has settled in Chad and the neighbouring Central African Republic, and whose members are mostly Christian and live from agriculture.
The head of this community in N’Djamena condemned in a statement on Monday “cowardly, barbaric and despicable acts” perpetrated “under the helpless and complicit gaze of the administrative and military authorities”, and urged the resignation of several local officials.
On the same day, the Episcopal Conference of Chad said it was “shocked by the recurrence of inter-community conflicts” in the south of the country.
Clashes, often very deadly, between nomadic Muslim herders and indigenous sedentary farmers, mostly Christians or animists, are very frequent in this region but also in these fertile areas on the borders of Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.
The latter accuse the former of ransacking their fields by grazing their animals, or even of settling on what they consider to be their land.