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African Cowboys Attack Farmers Over Water Access: UN Blames Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The United Nations has blamed a Cameroon version of an old style US Wild West Range War over control of water and territory on climate change.

Climate change fuels violence and mass displacement in Cameroon 

10 December 2021Climate and Environment

A flare-up in intercommunal fighting in northern Cameroon has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and brought a halt to aid operations there, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday. 

The development is just the latest episode in the difficult relationship between the region’s herders, fishermen and farmers, who have seen the waters and tributaries of Lake Chad shrink dramatically, because of climate change-induced drought. 

In Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov explained that clashes had broken out in recent days in the village of Ouloumsa, following a dispute over dwindling water resources

The violence then spread to neighbouring villages, leaving 10 villages burned to the ground. 

Escalating tensions 

UNHCR is deeply concerned by renewed intercommunal clashes that erupted this week in Cameroon’s Far North region, displacing thousands inside the country and forcing more than 30,000 people to flee to neighbouring Chad,” Mr. Cheshirkov said. “Since Sunday 5 December, at least 22 people have been killed and 30 others seriously injured during several days of ongoing fighting.” 

Fighting then erupted three days later, on 8 December, in the Cameroonian city of Kousseri, a commercial hub with 200,000 inhabitants, according to UNHCR. 

In addition to the destruction of the cattle market, Mr. Cheshirkov noted that “at least 10,000 people fled Kousseri to Chad’s capital, N’djamena…only a few kilometres across the Chari and Logone rivers, which mark the border with Cameroon”. 

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This is beyond ridiculous. Climate change didn’t cause the range war in Cameroon, any more than it caused the range wars in the Wild West.

In Cameroon, as in the Wild West, different groups of people who thought their access to the water and land took precedence couldn’t settle their dispute with words, so they resorted to violence. The cowboys won the first round, burning villages, then the displaced farmers retaliated by destroying a cattle market in the Cameroonian city of Kousseri.

The long drought people are experiencing is not unusual in a region which has known long droughts ever since records began. Lake Chad has also experienced severe over use due to a rapidly rising population and the current drought, leading to dramatic shrinkage of the lake.

Overall rainfall has increased in the Sahel region since the 1970s – the Sahel, which includes Lake Chad, is one of the regions where NASA has noticed dramatic greening since satellite measurements began. But obviously this overall increase in rainfall has not been enough to help locals in their current predicament. NASA also noticed evidence of land degradation in pastoral regions, which was not caused by rainfall.

In Cameroon there is a large diversity of backgrounds, including long standing tribal feuds and religious hostility between different faiths – just as there was in the Wild West, between Indians, cowboys and farmers.

Cameroon isn’t exactly the same as the Wild West. In the Wild West many disputes were settled relatively peacefully, in court, which helped quell some of the violence. I doubt a similar institution which is more or less respected by most parties exists in Cameroon.

Nobody needs to invoke climate change to understand the problems people in Cameroon are facing.

For the United Nations to try to exploit conflicts which have likely continued on and off for decades if not centuries, and a local climate which is measurably improving in terms of overall rainfall, to push their climate doomsday agenda, in my opinion is cynical and unhelpful.

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Tom Halla
December 11, 2021 6:10 pm

When there are a multitude of factors going into a dispute, ranging from religion, tribalism, or politics exploiting tribalism and religion, one can claim damn near any factor as the cause.
To avoid third world disputes, how long could one argue the causes of the First World War? There is a tendency to act as if people in the third world do not really have their own politics, every bit as complex and obscure as Europe.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 11, 2021 7:09 pm

An ostensibly “secular” organization whose faith is conceived at the Twilight fringe (i.e. conflation of logical domains), a religion (e.g. morality’s relativistic sibling “ethics”) born in selectivity, and an ideology that progresses through political congruences (“=”) constructed by mortal gods. Let us bray.

Pat from kerbob
December 11, 2021 6:12 pm

It’s not cynical and unhelpful, it is criminal.

Again and again we see people try to wriggle off the hook of their own bad decisions by blaming CC

Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 6:22 pm

“Cameroon isn’t exactly the same as the Wild West. In the Wild West many disputes were settled relatively peacefully, in court, which helped quell some of the violence. I doubt a similar institution which is more or less respected by most parties exists in Cameroon.”

Leaving aside the questions of just how many disputes between Native Amercians and the invaders were settled peacefully in court, it would appear that Eric is too racist to even imagine that Africans can respect the rule of law.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 6:50 pm

Race never entered into this thread, until you brought it in. The disagreements were among people of different religions, occupations, and tribes. It’s the different tribes and different religions that makes a legal settlement difficult, as there is no overiding jurisdictional power.

Reply to  Steve Reddish
December 12, 2021 7:24 am

That’s one constant with socialists. When they have no other argument, they accuse the other of being racist.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 6:53 pm

too racist to even imagine that Africans can respect the rule of law

If you don’t like statistics of fact, then you’ll believe 13/52 is also “racist”. Hell I bet you think the OK symbol is wyyyaaacist!!!

There IS a genetic component and you, are racist to ignore it.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Ruleo
December 11, 2021 7:42 pm

The statistics show that the homicide rate in the US is about 3 times that of cameroon but appartently it is only in Africa where people don’t respect the rule of law.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 10:42 pm

The high homicide rate in the US is for the most part black on black attacks.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 12, 2021 9:57 am

According to the FBI, African-Americans accounted for 55.9% of all homicide offenders in 2019, with whites 41.1%, and “Other” 3.0% in cases where the race was known. Among homicide victims in 2019 where the race was known, 54.7% were black or African-American, 42.3% were white, and 3.1% were of other races.

Black Americans constitute about 14% of US population. If BLM actually cared about black lives, they’d want more police, not fewer or none.

OTOH, suicides are disproportionately old, rural white men, with young, urban minority men a tiny proportion.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2021 10:18 am

Thanks once again for filling in the blanks for us. I was being a bit lazy yesterday.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 12, 2021 10:23 am

Increasing murder rates in Democrat-misruled cities is truly shocking, but as long as voters there keep reelecting pro-criminal, anti-cop mayors and DAs, violent and property crimes will only get worse.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2021 11:12 am

It’s shocking but true. I just this minute finished watching one of Larry Elder’s segments covering this and similar topics c/w the anarchy taking place in California and other Democrat strongholds. Apparently they’re unable to connect the dots a to cause.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 12, 2021 2:16 pm

Mr. Elder is a national treasure, but of course cast into Outer Darkness by the Powers that Be.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2021 10:55 am

Yes, the homicide rate (per 100,000) among Blacks is almost an order of magnitude higher than for Whites. There is a strong geographic correlation with spikes in urban areas dominated by Black residents. In the rural areas near the Canadian border, where Blacks are scarce, the overall firearm homicide rate is similar to, and sometimes lower than the Canadian rate.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 12, 2021 11:15 am

sometimes lower than the Canadian rate

We are trying to improve. I can assure you.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 12, 2021 3:56 pm

But, it is already so low, you need to be careful you don’t drive it negative! 🙂

John Dilks
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 11:22 pm

Remove the Democrat controlled cities and we have a low homicide rate.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 4:55 am

It is only in Cameroon where they’re having a range war, doofus.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 7:26 am

The article didn’t mention homicides, it was talking about violence. In the article most of the violence was against property.

John Tillman
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 8:43 am

More like twice, but only because of big cities.

Some US states have rates lower than Cameroon.

California and Texas both have more people than Cameroon.

Cameroon may be unique in being not only multilingual (with 250 to 600 languages), but bijural, using both English common law and French Napoleonic code. Local customs also act as de facto law.

Ron Long
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 12, 2021 2:17 am

I prefer Transparency International Corruption Perception Index as a data source for corruption, as they probably are who wiki is citing anyway. Yes, Cameroon is very corrupt, even for an African country. This means that the chances a fair and equitable agreement can be reached is close to zero.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 12, 2021 5:04 am

“Force is the ultimate arbiter.”

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 12, 2021 7:27 am

If Izaak spent time learning the facts, he wouldn’t be able to use his favorite argument.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 11, 2021 10:40 pm

Once again you manage your usual ready, fire , aim approach … maintaining your perfect record of non sequiturs.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 4:53 am

Actually ALL of the disputes between Indians and Americans were settled by treaty – treaties still in effect today, enforced by courts.

You do realize that it was only a tiny minority of Indians who ever waged war or committed violence against Americans, and vice versa? Forget Hollywood and anti-American tirades by extremist liberal book authors, none of which was representative of most Indians or Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 7:23 am

What is it with socialists, and their need to deflect every conflict with charges of racism on the other side.

Eric answered all of your questions in the article. Perhaps if you read it with an eye of understanding it, you would know that.

Since Izaak is so eager to demonstrate his ignorance, I’ll help him along on the path to understanding.
Izaak, what courts had standing in the dispute between sovereign nations?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2021 1:29 pm

I noticed Izaak Walton didn’t address the main issue.
In a region where droughts have been common for decades, THIS drought is caused by “Climate Change”?
Instead he tries to play the “Race Card”.

Gary Pearse
December 11, 2021 6:57 pm

Ridiculous! Here is a list of water disputes throughout history: scroll down to

“Water Conflict Throughout History”

It starts with the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta! The preamble before the list gives the reasons for conflict over water and you will not be surprised by what they are. Even the UN ‘reason’ for the one in Cameroon – suiting their political view is quite common.

Surely, we can’t be censored, fired, blackballed, erased, disenfranchised… for disputing garden variety balderdash from the UNskis!

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 11, 2021 6:59 pm
Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 11, 2021 7:20 pm

I used to work in that part of Cameroon in 1974 looking for uranium. The population then was about 7 million…now it’s quadrupled to 28 million. I suspect that has much more to do with any water shortages and tribal tensions than any imagined climate change…

December 11, 2021 7:22 pm

The UN ignoring its’ mission by blaming something out of its’ control.

Reply to  markl
December 11, 2021 8:09 pm

The UN is the climate emergency.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  markl
December 11, 2021 9:45 pm

Apostrophe abuse is a serious crime

Reply to  markl
December 12, 2021 7:29 am

The only time I can think of when UN peacekeepers actually kept the peace was in Korea, and the UN wasn’t in charge.

December 11, 2021 9:18 pm

Since Izaak has dragged racism into the debate (a sure sign he is a wokester), let’s ask another question.

Would the “Religion of Peace” be prevalent up North?
Wow! That’s a surprise!

Now, Izaak. I’m just wondering if your last name isn’t actually ‘Hunt’.

It should be.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 12, 2021 1:46 am

Wouldn’t question that for a moment.

Perhaps I should have clarified that the problems in North Cameroon weren’t attributable just to the Muslims. But just as in neighbouring northern Nigeria and Chad, Jihadi Imams haven’t exactly been as humane and peaceful as one might wish.

This kind of intercommunal violence is usually an outcome of a number of factors, just as you suggested. Not including the allegedly baleful influence of a trivial and beneficial increase in an essential trace gas.

But I fear I get very annoyed with people like Isaak, hunting everywhere for any excuse to suggest that all historic and present fault and blame is to be placed on the shoulders of Anglophone folk. The old “waaaacist” game.

Yet he is apparently quite relaxed about Iran, Saudi and China.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 12, 2021 9:38 am

In any armed conflict it is the innocent who suffer. Unless, that is, the winning side slaughters the rulers of the losing side. But in our “enlightened” Western world of wars fought under international law, the vast majority of the losing side’s ruling elites continue on as before in abusing their subjects. It is a different story for those few convicted of war crimes. Hell, they only exiled Napoleon … twice!

December 12, 2021 10:02 am

Isaak here just commandeered the name of the author of “The Compleat Angler”.

Which is weird, since the intellect of Izaak Walton the author clearly towers over Izaak Walton the WUWT commenter.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Mr.
December 12, 2021 11:03 am

And, I suspect he is trying to sponge some of the reputation of the original Walton by using his name. Should that be considered a form of “identity theft?”

John Tillman
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 12, 2021 1:53 pm

The venerable Izaak Walton was a devout Christian who would be appalled by our trolling usurper.

Chris Hanley
December 11, 2021 9:47 pm

The shrinking of Lake Chad was due to climate change:
‘During [the warmer] mid-Holocene the Chad Basin was occupied by a large lake, called Lake Mega-Chad’.
However ‘over the last two decades, Lake Chad is not shrinking and recovers seasonally its surface water extent and volume’.

Harri Luuppala
December 11, 2021 10:32 pm

UN own operation has failed. It is known decades that the Rivers to Lake Chad are over used to get irritation water!

See this UN own article 2012:
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), a regional body that regulates the use of the basin’s water and other natural resources, maintain that inefficient damming and irrigation methods on the part of the countries bordering the lake are partly responsible for its shrinkage. Emmanuel Asuquo-Obot of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an organization devoted to wildlife conservation, points to the diversion of water from the Chari River to irrigation projects and dams along the Jama’are and Hadejia Rivers in northeastern Nigeria.

As parts of the lake dry up, most farmers and cattle herders have moved towards greener areas, where they compete for land resources with host communities. Others have gone to Kano, Abuja, Lagos and other big cities for menial jobs or to roam the streets as beggars.

Those who remain in Lake Chad shoreline communities such as Doron Baga are haunted by the speed with which the lake is vanishing. The Doron Baga settlement, which used to be by the lakeside, is now 20 kilometers from its edge.

and the Britannica:
In 1870, for example, Lake Chad covered some 10,800 square miles (28,000 square km). At the turn of the 20th century the lake began to diminish in size, but by the 1920s it had recovered, and in 1956 it again overflowed into the El-Ghazal. During the 1970s and ’80s the amplitude of the lake’s annual variability was the highest recorded in the 20th century, with average levels falling below long-term norms; the surface area was reduced to less than 1,500 square miles (3,900 square km) for a time in the mid-1980s and again in the early 21st century. 

Reply to  Harri Luuppala
December 12, 2021 1:03 am

“to get irritation water!”

That’s how warts wars start !!!

December 11, 2021 11:45 pm

Original Post (O.P.) seems to down play the reason Northern Cameroon agriculturalists are in conflict with the livestock owners over water. WUWT readers are told the Sahel has more rainfall and that allusion to “… overall rainfall …” is supposed to indicate Kousseri (Cameroon) locality water can’t be a major issue.

However, in the Kousseri area despite increased total annual precipitation there is unfortunately a decreased trend to rainfall during the period of agriculturally critical grain filling stage. In other words, when the farmers’ annual crops are needing water in order to yield well their livelihood is challenged by livestock owners using the limited available water.

See following cited report “Section 2.4 Dry Spell”, Figure 2b “frequency of PFDS [post floral dry season] year” color map; that Sahel map location around Kousseri (you’ll have to know where to look by referring to some northern Cameroon map) has a brown/beige color legend – indicating greater total rain yet greater years of post floral dryness (when grain filling relevant). Data period for report is 1981-2017; free full text is available on-line (2021) titled: “Is Wetter Better? Exploring agriculturally relevant rainfall characteristics over four decades in the Sahel”.

Gunga Din
Reply to  gringojay
December 12, 2021 1:53 pm

Have they built any dams to store water? If so, maybe they need to build more?
Maybe they could even include some power from hydro?

Reply to  Gunga Din
December 12, 2021 2:54 pm

Not sure terrain if O.P.’s subject is suitable for storing water behind dams. Quote (from globalsecurity dot org): “The extreme north … relatively flat area of … basins & … river systems … inundate a broad area before emptying into Lake Chad ….”

Peta of Newark
December 12, 2021 1:24 am

What say Sputnik, isn’t The Planet Getting Greener?

Doesn’t anyone get sick of having eating cake?

December 12, 2021 1:28 am

Liars are gonna lie and the UN are indeed liars. Speaking of liars, Joe Biden weighed in on the recent tornadoes in Kentucky and elsewhere:

“We all know that everything is more intense when the climate is warming. Everything. And obviously it has some impact here.”

Nice one, Joe.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Charlie
December 12, 2021 11:06 am

He probably actually believes it. Therein is the problem!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 12, 2021 2:36 pm

Yes, I have a feeling Joe Biden is a True Believer.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 13, 2021 10:54 am

From the biden perspective:

If he believes it, it is true. If it turns out that it is proved wrong, he never really believed it … it was just a little harmless exaggeration. It is not overt thought process for him … it just is.

His wife has the same mental issues. (are people with this condition attracted to each other, or did jill’s psychosis manifest over time as a result of her close contact with joe?)

Joe and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water….

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
December 12, 2021 2:08 pm

Pay attention to the dates and the death totals.
Horrible events but NOT “more intense” due to Man’s fossil-induced CO2 “Climate Change”.

Reply to  Gunga Din
December 13, 2021 6:00 am

I know. Tell Joe the liar.

December 12, 2021 4:48 am

Weather happened somewhere on planet Earth- and climate change caused it!

Jules Guidry
Reply to  Duane
December 12, 2021 7:56 am

I like it. And, I’m gonna use it in the future. A much shorter and better explanation of what is going on with this planet at any one given time anywhere.

December 12, 2021 4:57 am

This is yet another irrefutable proof that when all you have are lies you just screech them louder.

December 12, 2021 5:22 am

Time to send in these guys…
comment image

Reply to  David Middleton
December 12, 2021 10:04 am

Entrants in a mustache contest?

December 12, 2021 6:32 am
December 12, 2021 7:18 am

These eco-warriors need to read up on the water wars from the American frontier days.
They honestly are surprised when people who live in dry areas, fight over water.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
December 12, 2021 11:10 am

And, some people fail to see that limited water supplies discourage people from living in the arid areas and inhibit growth.

Gunga Din
Reply to  MarkW
December 12, 2021 2:20 pm
December 13, 2021 10:03 am

This is just the opening salvo from the UN and many others to place the blame from declining clean water or other water resources on climate change. It takes the place of working on anything or planning.

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