Fulani herders and Malinke farmers clash in northern Ivory Coast

 
In the city of Kong, in northern Ivory Coast, tensions are running high between Fulani herders and Malinke farmers. On the night of December 11 to 12, skirmishes led to beatings and the burning of homes, as our Observer's photos show.
 
Fulanis and Malinke have lived side-by-side in this city for generations. The Fulanis originate from nearby Burkina Faso and tend to be cattle herders, while the Malinke are mostly farmers. The root of their differences has to do with land use.
 
The remains of a burned home. Photo taken by our Observer.
Contributors

“This type of incident is very frequent in Kong and the neighbouring areas”

Sikolosbh lives near Kong, in the north of the country.
 
On December 11, oxen belonging to Fulanis broke into a nearby field belonging to Malinke farmers and destroyed all their corn, wheat, and yam crops.
 
In retribution, Malinke farmers went to the outskirts of the city where Fulani cattle herders live and attacked some of them, according to the policemen who intervened to stop the fighting. Thankfully, there were no fatalities, but there were still a number of injuries. According to the information that I obtained, two perpetrators were arrested.
 
These arrests only increased the tension. Several hours later, nearly a hundred farmers entered the local police station and started throwing stones at the policemen. Taken by surprise by this attack, and with very few staff members on hand, the policemen were forced to free the prisoners — who immediately returned to the Fulani neighbourhood to set fire to homes.
   
Photo taken by our Observer.
  
“The Ivory Coast media did not cover this incident"
 
This type of incident is very frequent in Kong and the neighbouring areas. Fulani people are considered by some as second-class citizens, and treated as such. The problem is that they are frequently too few to control their cattle.
 
Since he has come to power, President [Alassane] Ouattara has been advocating for reconciliation between the different ethnic groups, but his “harmonious co-existence” policy has not yielded meaningful results so far. In his view, the north in general and Kong in particular [Editor’s note: Ouattara’s family is from this city] are models of stability, which must never be criticized. And indeed, the Ivory Coast media did not cover these attacks [Editor’s note: Abidjan journalists confirmed that this type of incident is rarely covered].
 
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