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The Liptako Fula

(See also Jelgoove)

 

The Fulani people are generally named according to their locations, occupations, and dialects. The Liptako Fula inhabit the Liptako-Gourma region. Liptako-Gourma Region is located at the border zone between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It is made up of part of the territories of Burkina Faso (57 %), of Mali (21 %) and Niger (10 %) where some 14 million inhabitants live.The Liptako Fula are a branch of Fulani living in the Masina district of central Mali and northern Burkina Faso. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many Fulve have migrated eastwards to Oudalan, Liptako, Yagha and into Niger. They are part of the Jelgoove Fulani sub-group.

 

The Jelgoobe descended from two chiefdoms that migrated from Hairé region of Mali by 1750. According to their oral traditions, they arrived from Masina in Mali, driving the cattle of the Jallube in the 17th century, because of famine and the political struggles of that region. But they did not escape these entirely, for they became in 1824 the eastern edge of the Islamic Diina kingdom of Ahmadu Cheiku, based in the Masina, but rebelled and had their leaders killed. They appealed to the Mossi king of Yatenga, who attempted to impose Mossi rule. The Jelgoobe threw off both until the French arrived in 1864.

These and other Fulve of different origins and varied dates of arrival are called Fulve Jelgooji, like the Fulve Kelli. But some of the Riimaybe, ex-captives, who possibly gaining their freedom in the conflict with the Mossi around 1834, live in the town of Djibo and speak the language of the Mossi. The town is about 25% Mossi, a further 18% are also Riimaybe speaking Fulfulde.


In this region 72% of the population is of Fulfulde language and culture, but only 44% are Fulve, the rest being Riimaybe, who now have independent farming communities. The Fulve living in the surrounding hamlets speak Fulfulde and insist on keeping cattle to have status as cattle owners in the Fulve tradition. Many migrated south during the droughts of the 1980s. But since then those that remained have prospered better than the farming population. This has been helped by new water holes and a cattle market in Djibo.


The herds are a very important asset to the Liptako. Milk from the cattle and goats provides the main portion of their diet. Butter is made and also sold at the markets. Meat is only eaten at important festivals or ceremonies. The Liptako raise both long-horned and short-horned cattle. Two types of sheep are also bred: one with hair and one with wool. The wool sheep are important for trade, and indicate the economic status of their owners.
Values such as valor, bravery, and strength are important to the Fulani. This is shown in one interesting Liptako custom known as sharo