Navigating violence and exclusion: The Mbororo’s claim to the Central African Republic’s margins

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Abstract

This article analyses the ways in which the nomadic Mbororo’s claim to grazing land in the territorial margins of the Central African Republic (CAR) has shifted under the influence of increased competition. It unpacks the ambiguities of a nomadic lifestyle that requires navigation between acquired political inclusion, and increasing social exclusion. The paper explores how the Mbororo adapted their strategies under the influence of changing political and security situations since their arrival in the country around a century ago. The Mbororo’s initial strategy to keep a low profile and occupy the largely empty pastures came under pressure due to increased competition from various armed groups over the territorial margins. Rebel groups, transhumance, poachers, and highway bandits now occupy the same territories for their political and economic projects. The country's recent and ongoing crisis has imposed unprecedented new challenges. The Mbororo adapted their strategies to uphold their claims to land and belonging: the majority temporarily sought exile, while some others have resorted to joining armed groups. Meanwhile, their political and economic inclusion weakened and their cattle became one of the main sources financing the conflict economy. The paper argues that increasing social and political marginality combined with the violence in the territorial margins will make it hard for the Mbororo to reclaim the Central African pastures that are the heart of their lives and livelihoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
JournalGeoforum
Volume109
Early online date19 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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