Attackers have killed at least 20 people, including children, who were visiting their farms in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region for the first time in years, a tribal chief said.
“Two months ago the government organised a meeting between the original landowners and those who took their fields” during the long-running war in Darfur, Ibrahim Ahmad told AFP news agency by telephone on Saturday.
“An agreement was reached whereby the landowners would return to their fields – but armed men came on Friday and opened fire, killing 20 people, including two women and children.”
The killings took place in Aboudos, some 90 kilometres (56 miles) south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur province, the tribal chief said.
About 20 people were wounded in the attack, he said.
The death toll “could well increase, because some of the wounded are in a serious condition”, he added.
Darfur has been engulfed in a deadly conflict since 2003, when ethnic minority Black tribes took up arms against the forces of the then-longtime ruler, President Omar al-Bashir, accusing it of marginalising the region.
Al-Bashir, who was removed from office last year, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes and genocide charges related to Darfur, which he denies.
According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced by the fighting.
A power-sharing transitional government between civilians and the military was sworn in in September last year.
In January this year, a coalition of nine rebel groups – including factions from Darfur – signed a preliminary agreement with the government after weeks of talks.