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Violent clashes between rival tribes in Darfur have killed nearly 50 people in the last 24 hours, the latest such event in this region in western Sudan, undermined by instability and insecurity.
These clashes have also been the deadliest after the end, on December 31, of the joint peace mission between the UN and the African Union (AU) in Darfur, a withdrawal that sparked fears of an escalation of violence among the inhabitants of this vast region. .
According to a new report released this Sunday by the official Sudanese agency Suna, citing the local section of the doctors’ union, since Saturday the violence in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, caused 48 deaths and 97 injuries.
The fighting continues, the source added.
They oppose the Al Massalit tribe with the Arab nomads. Armed militias favorable to the latter attacked El Geneina and several houses were burned, according to testimonies.
Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok sent a “high-level” delegation to West Darfur to try to restore order.
Darfur is experiencing an upsurge in tribal fighting, which caused 15 deaths and dozens of injuries in late December, just days before the end of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission, a 13-year operation.
The progressive withdrawal of troops from this mission, which is expected to begin in January 2021, will take place over six months. And the Sudanese government thus assumes the responsibility of protecting the populations of this region.
– Earth, water –
The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when troops loyal to the regime of General Omar al Bashir, in Khartoum, clashed with members of ethnic minorities who consider themselves marginalized and demand a more equal distribution of power and wealth in the country.
The violence caused some 300,000 deaths and more than 2.5 million displaced, especially during the first years, according to the UN.
To fight the rebels, the Bashir regime deployed the Janjaweed, an armed militia made up mostly of Arab nomads, accused of perpetrating “ethnic cleansing” and rape. Later, thousands of these militiamen joined the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group.
Although the violence has decreased in intensity, clashes are quite frequent, both over access to land and water, between nomadic Arab herders and farmers from Darfur.
The transitional Sudanese government, established after the fall of the autocrat Al Bashir, in April 2019 under strong pressure from a popular protest, signed a peace agreement last October with various insurgent groups, including in Darfur.
After UNAMID, which had some 16,000 troops, the UN will remain in Sudan through its own mission deployed to support the transition in Sudan (Minuats).
This political mission will have the task of assisting the transitional government, launched in August 2019 and the result of an agreement between the military and leaders of the society’s protest movement.
It would also help implement recent peace accords in conflict-torn areas. Omar al Bashir is in prison, while other former Sudanese officials are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges such as “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” in Darfur.
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