Towns and rural settlements in the form of villages and camps were the two major precolonial settlement patterns. Many Barma lived in permanent towns located on or near streams and swamps. Towns, which could have thousands of inhabitants, were often walled; they had various wards and large, open markets, around which might be found mosques and official residences. A major postcolonial change in settlement pattern, however, has been a reduction in the size of the Barma towns. The Arabs and the Fulani were semisedentary: they lived in villages and camps. Villages were small, often housing fewer than 100 persons, and tended to be located in northern and eastern Bagirmi. They were places of farming and herding during the rains (June to September); when precipitation diminished, many persons migrated with their animals in a southwesterly direction. Camps—small groups of 10 to 30 living in impermanent residences—were the settlement type adopted by those in transhumance.