Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Central African Republic : Mbororo

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2008
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Central African Republic : Mbororo, 2008, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Known also as Fulbé (also as Peul, Fula or Fulani), Mbororo are semi-nomadic Islamic pastoralists. They are found throughout the western grasslands. Resented for their relative wealth in cattle, they have been subject to harassment, bandit attacks and police shakedowns. From present-day Cameroon, Fulbé spearheaded slave raids among Gbaye and Mboum peoples in the nineteenth century.

The term 'Hausa' is popularly applied to Islamic African petty traders, said to account for three-quarters of all petty traders in the country, who probably number less than 1 per cent of the population.

Thousands of Muslims of Chadian origin have lived in CAR for generations and have citizenship, but have at times been suspected of disloyalty and are frequently referred to as 'foreigners'.

Historical context

Muslim traders of Chadian origin were objects of rioting and looting in 1994. Following a failed coup attempt by former president Kolingba in 2001, Army Chief of Staff François Bozizé split with President Ange-Félix Patassé and fled to Chad, taking elements of the army with him. From this time the CAR government fostered heightened suspicions of the domestic Chadian community.

As the Patassé government attempted to repel Bozizé's second coup attempt in 2003 (following a try in 2002), Patassé received assistance from Jean-Pierre Bemba, the leader of the Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo (MLC). In February 2003 the French Federation Internationale des Droits de l'Homme alleged that government and MLC forces had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in targeting civilians as they re-took several northern towns. Forces under the command of Patassé and Bemba allegedly hunted down suspected rebel accomplices, specifically targeting Chadians and Muslims. The organization filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, prompting a government denial of the allegations and a claim that the Patassé government was committed to protecting Chadian and Muslim communities.

Current issues

The Mbororo have particularly suffered in this prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness and rebellion across the North. Targeted for their wealth and livestock, many have fled to camps in Southern Chad. In April 2007, UNHCR announced it was opening a new refugee camp in Cameroon, following the flight of some 25,000 Mbororo from CAR. In a statement UNCHR said the Mbororo had been singled out 'relentlessly' by both bandits and rebels, and that "small number of those who managed to save some of their livestock continue to graze cattle inside Cameroon. But the others, having lost everything, are in an extremely precarious situation." In November 2007, Amnesty International reported (War Against Children in the Wild North) on the pervasive practise of child abduction from Mbororo communities, in exchange for ransom. Some children have abducted by zaraguinas more than 10 times. Girls are especially vulnerable, as they may be held for months, and raped. Ransoms can be up to $10,000. AI says the State security forces of fail to intervene, even when they are in a position to do so.

In March 2007, inter-confessional fighting erupted in the town of Kaga Bandoro following the alleged killings by a group of Christians of cows belonging to Muslims. Four Muslims were shot dead with hunting rifles, and some feared that mounting religious tension could complicate the rebellion in the north-west.

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