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37 dead in intercommunal fighting in Chad: president

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders - many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails - and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Flag of Chad. Picture: Public Domain.

N'DJAMENA - At least 37 people have been killed in fighting this week between rival ethnic groups in Chad, President Idriss Deby said on Friday.

"The intercommunal conflict has become a national concern," Deby said at a press conference to mark the country's independence day.

"We are witnessing a terrible phenomenon."

He said that in just three days, 37 people were killed in the eastern province of Ouaddie, a strategic area on the border with Sudan.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders - many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails - and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Last month Deby, who has been in power for almost three decades, hinted that military courts may be reintroduced in a bid to curb the unrest, a suggestion denounced by the country's opposition.