OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – At least 30 people from the Peul ethnic group were killed in clashes over land rights at the border between Burkina Faso and Mali this week, and as many as 1,000 others have fled fearing more violence, according to the governor of Burkina's northern region.
Reached by telephone, Gov. Boukary Kalil Bara said the clash between the Peul, who are traditionally herders, and the Dogon, who are farmers, erupted Tuesday in the village of Sari, 15 kilometers (9 miles) across the border in Malian territory. According to national radio, some of the victims were burned alive and their bodies have been left in the open air.
The violence appears to be one more ripple effect of Mali's 2-month-old coup, which overturned two decades of democracy. Under the administration of Mali's ousted president — who was himself a Peul — the herders were allowed to cross into Dogon territory on special paths.
The arrangement has been a source of tension because the livestock owned by the Peul often meandered off the path, damaging the crops of the Dogon settlers. The Dogon have accused the ex-president of favoring the Peul because of their ethnic link.
After Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a March 21 coup, the dispute over land rights took on a new dimension.
Bara identified the victims as Peul. It's not clear if any Dogon were killed in the violence.