The mainly pastoralist Toubou are a minority group that lives across several African states: Chad, Lybia, Niger and Sudan. Following the 1990 coup d’état in Chad, thousands of Toubou fled southward into territories inhabited by Fulani herders, triggering conflicts over grazing rights between 1993 and 1994 (UCDP, 2014).
The Toubou are a small ethnic minority group that inhabits a remote and inhospitable region. Their living conditions are characterized by adverse environmental conditions and a lack of sufficient public services and infrastructures. During the leadership of Muammar al Ghadaffi, the Lybian Toubou were victims of frequent discrimination; they were denied citizenship rights as well as access to education and basic services (UN Human Rights Council, 2010). In Chad, they also suffered from abuse by authorities (Azevedo, 1998).
These factors have all contributed to the vulnerability of the Toubou and their heavy dependence on pastoralism and grazing resources. Weapons trafficking into Niger from neighbouring Chad and the absence of effective security provision by the Nigerian government have enabled violence between Toubou and Fulani groups. Consequently, a climate of chronic insecurity and mutual distrust between the two groups has developed (UCDP, 2014).
Ultimately, this situation of insecurity contributed to the formation of the FDR (Front Démocratique du Renouveau), a rebel group demanding more autonomy for a part of north-eastern Niger.