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West Darfur farmers despair militant herders

December 12 - 2014 KEREINIK

Farmers of Murnei and surrounding villages in West Darfur have complained again about herders who force them to let their livestock graze on cultivated land. Kereinik locality has been the stage of fighting and tension between the two parties since the start of the harvesting.

A farmer in the locality told Radio Dabanga that “militant herders” have started to release their cattle on the farms since the harvest season began. “No one dares to chase them out because of the their threats to use arms against us.”

He added that the trespassers have caused terrible damages in large parts of the Murnei's cultivated lands. The farmer appealed to the West Darfur state authorities to intervene.

The military commander of Azerni, east of El Geneina town, and tribal leaders decided on 4 December that the people of Azerni have to pay a large amount to the herders, as a compensation for the deaths of two of their companions. They were killed in a clash with farmers the previous day.

The commissioner of Kereinik locality, Younes El Haj, said that frictions and disputes between pastoralists and farmers “exist since ancient times” last week, and that the parties should “resolve their conflicts peacefully with the support of Ajaweed [arbitration council of elders], not with arms”.

File photo: Farm in West Darfur (source unknown)

Related: West Darfur residents flee as herders threaten to attack (5 December 2014)

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