The Security Challenges of Pastoralism in Central Africa
"Since it began in prehistoric times, pastoralism in Africa has been a story of perpetual movement by cattle and their herders, who have adapted to the region’s climatic and security constraints over thousands of years. In Central Africa, transhumance began recently, as shown by the migration history of the Fulanis, one of the region’s largest communities of herders. Leaving northern Nigeria at the end of the nineteenth century, thousands of Fulanis crossed the border and settled in Cameroon before migrating towards the Central African Republic (CAR) at the beginning of the twentieth century. Harassed by “road bandits” (coupeurs de route) in northwestern CAR in the 1970s, some of them went as far as south-eastern CAR and into neighbouring countries. In Central Africa, nomadic herders came from a mixture of peoples with very different livelihoods and pastoralist practices, including Arabs, Fulanis, Toubous and Goranes. This report examines the recurring problems of rural security related to pastoralism in the area that stretches from Chad to northern Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC). The governments of these countries ignore problems that are a major cause of concern to rural communities, who are the victims. Now that transhumance is gradually spreading southwards into Central Africa, three types of conflict are associated with pastoralism: conflicts caused by the internal migration of pastoralists within countries (Chad); conflicts caused by the intensification of transnational migrations between Chad and the CAR; conflicts caused by recent migration and the settlement of pastoralists in new territories, for example, the Mbororo Fulanis in north-eastern DRC."