According to the UN refugee agency and a tribal elder, tribal battles in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur have killed about 100 people in the last week, marking the latest rise in violence in the restive region.
According to Toby Harward, a UNHCR coordinator, the conflict in Kulbus, West Darfur province, stemmed from a land dispute between Arab and African groups. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate as local Arab militias raided various communities in the area, he claimed.
At least 62 bodies were discovered charred after militias set fire to more than 20 villages, according to Abkar Al-Toum, a tribal leader in the town. Many people, he added, were still missing. According to him, the attackers took control of water resources, worsening the humanitarian crisis in the area. He didn’t go into detail.
Authorities have deployed extra troops to the region, according to Abbas Mustafa, a local official. According to him, at least 5,000 households have been displaced as a result of the conflict during the last week.
Harward advocated for the deployment of “neutral combined forces” to safeguard residents in the area. “If there is no intervention or mediation, and violence continues, farmers will be unable to cultivate their land, and the agricultural season will collapse,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
According to Radio Dabanga, fighting has spread to the neighbouring region of North Darfur, causing partial destruction to two villages.
The UN ambassador for Sudan, Volker Perthes, described the fighting in Kulbus as “appalled again.” On Twitter, he stated, “The cycle of violence in Darfur is reprehensible and shows core reasons that must be addressed.”
The clashes were the latest in a series of tribal clashes in Darfur. It happened while the country remained enmeshed in a deeper crisis in the aftermath of a military coup in October. After a popular revolt caused the departure of longstanding tyrant Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019, the takeover threw Sudan’s democratic transition into disarray.
Hundreds of people have been slain in Darfur as a result of outbreaks of tribal violence and rises in fighting since late last year. After a previous outbreak of cashes killed over 200 people in April, the Sudanese military announced the deployment of a brigade to the area.
However, the violence has raised doubts about Sudanese military commanders’ ability to deliver security to Darfur. The UN Security Council’s peacekeeping operation there ended in 2020. Local charity workers have been urging the UN to redeploy peacekeepers to the region in recent months, citing an increase in tribal violence.
The Darfur crisis began in 2003, when ethnic Africans rose up against a government controlled by Arabs in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination. Al-government Bashir’s has been accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and deploying janjaweed militias against civilians, which it denies.
Al-Bashir, who has been imprisoned in Khartoum since his ouster from office in 2019, was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur by the International Criminal Court more than a decade ago.