Panafrican News Agency

Sudanese authorities say bloody clashes in West Darfur under control

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The Sudanese authorities say security reinforcements sent to West Darfur following violence in which at least 83 people, including women and children, were killed have taken control of the situation.

The reinforcements were sent to protect citizens and property after the inter-communal clashes also saw more than 160 people wounded, several houses destroyed and about 50,000 people displaced.

A curfew has been imposed in the area.

The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that the joint military forces "have imposed control on the tribal violence incidents" that reignited on Monday morning in South Darfur State between Rezaigat and Fallata tribes due to the killing of a shepherd.

It said the Governor of South Darfur State, Musa Mahdi, affirmed the occurrence of a tribal conflict in the area, which resulted in death and wounding of tens of people, after armed men attacked Al-Taweel village, east of Geraida locality, which is 85 km south of Nyala city, the capital of the state.

He said that additional forces were sent from the neighbouring East Darfur State to prevent the spread of the violence.

SUNA said South Darfur State deployed large military forces in the area last month after increase of tribal disputes in the southern part of the state between the Fallata and Masaleet on one side, and between Rezaigat and Fallata on the other side.

The Minister of Defence, Lt-General, Yassin Ibrahim, speaking after an emergency meeting of the Security and Defence Council, on Sunday, said a committee would be set up to determine the root cause of the problem.

The government would also enforce laws, complete the redeployment of the joint forces to protect civilians and implement urgent joint operations to collect unlicensed firearms, he said.

SUNA said the violence started on Saturday when a group militias attacked Al-Genaina city, capital of Genaina, West Darfur.

It said the attack targeted the Kerainding camp for displaced persons. 

Media reports indicate that the violence involved the Massalit tribe and Arab nomads and descended into fighting involving armed militias in the area.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced deep concerns over escalating violence in West Darfur and called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians. 

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, he also called on them to “bring an end to the fighting, restore law and order and ensure the protection of civilians, in accordance with the Government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection”. 

The violence occurred about two weeks after the African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping mission in the region (UNAMID) ended its operations at the end of 2020. UNAMID is currently drawing down and the process is expected to complete by the end of June 2021. 

The vast Darfur region, roughly the size of Spain, has been plagued by conflict and inter-communal tensions for years. Millions have been displaced by the violence, including many who fled to neighbouring Chad.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has said that the declaration of state of emergency and curfew across the West Darfur State was not enough unless it was followed by measures of controlling the armed groups.

There should also be enforcement of law and urgent legal procedures to control the proliferation of arms, in addition to preventing the use of weapons of the military and security forces against civilians.

The SPA said such incidents confirm that proliferation of weapons in all parts of Sudan, and in Darfur region in particular, was one of the main reasons for the deterioration of security and continued attacks against civilians.

-0- PANA MA 19Jan2021