Clashes initially pitting the Massalit tribe against Arab nomads in al-Geneina morph into broader conflict.
Clashes between rival ethnic groups in Sudan’s South Darfur state have left 55 people dead, a day after more than 80 people were killed in separate clashes elsewhere in the restive region.
“The clashes between the Rizeigat tribe and the Fallata tribe have killed 55 people, and wounded 37 others,” local Fallata leader Mohamed Saleh told AFP news agency.
Saleh, from the ethnically non-Arab Fallata people, said that several homes were torched in the attack, which appeared to be in revenge for Fallata tribe’s killing of a Rizeigat member around a week ago.
The violence – which erupted early on Monday – came after the killing of at least 83 people in clashes between rival ethnic groups on Saturday and Sunday in West Darfur state.
The clashes occurred about two weeks after United Nations peacekeepers discontinued their patrols in the Darfur region, preparing for a full withdrawal.
The violence in the two states is some of the most significant fighting reported since the signing of a peace agreement in October, which observers hoped would end years of war.
While former rebel forces have committed to laying down their weapons, decades of conflict have left the vast western region awash with weapons and divided by bitter rivalries.
Key issues include land ownership and access to water.
Sudan has been undergoing a fragile transition since the April 2019 ouster of President Omar al-Bashir following mass protests against his rule.
The civilian-majority administration installed after Bashir’s ouster has been pushing to stabilise regions beset by decades of civil war.
Darfur endured a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003, leaving roughly 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
The main conflict has subsided over the years but ethnic and tribal clashes still flare periodically, largely pitting nomadic Arab pastoralists against settled farmers from non-Arab ethnic groups.
Only two groups refrained from signing the peace deal, including one with considerable support in Darfur.
The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, a peacekeeping force, plans a phased withdrawal of its approximately 8,000 armed and civilian personnel within six months.