Khartoum, 24 Jumadil Akhir 1434/4 May 2013 (MINA) – At least 80 people have been killed in the latest outbreak of fighting between Arab groups in western Sudan’s Darfur region, tribal leaders said on Friday (3/5).
“Fighting was going on until last night and from our side we have 37 dead,” said Ibrahim al-Sheikh, a leader of the Beni Halba tribe.
He claimed more than 100 members of the rival Gimir group were also killed but a Gimir chief, Abaker al-Toum, said 44 of his people had died.
The fighting took place in Edd al-Fursan, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the South Darfur state capital, Nyala.
Both sides agreed they were fighting over land, with each side claiming ownership. Modern Ghana reported as monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), cited the Sudan government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission as confirming “new inter-tribal fighting between the Gimir and Beni Halba tribes over land ownership” in South Darfur.
“Seven people from the Gimir tribe were reportedly killed in an attack on 26 April. The fighting is continuing,” OCHA said in its weekly humanitarian bulletin issued late on Thursday (3/5). “About 2,000 members of the Gimir and Assignor tribes have been displaced.”
Toum, the Gimir chief, accused the paramilitary Central Reserve Police of siding with the Beni Halba.
“There is huge tension in the area. Beni Halba are preparing a large number of troops to attack, and Central Reserve and their weapons are part of this,” he said.
A United Nations panel of experts reported in February that eyewitnesses and victims blamed elements of the Central Reserve and other paramilitaries “for acts of harassment and intimidation” in rural areas or inside camps for Darfur’s 1.4 million displaced.
In April 2013 ago, the United Nations said 50,000 people from southwestern Darfur had fled over the border to Chad because of inter-tribal conflict. Clashes had occurred between the Misseriya and Salamat groups.
The Salamat tribe accused Central Reserve members of joining fighting in the area.
Root of Conflict
A pattern of skewed development continued following national independence in 1956. To this was added an element of political instability caused by the proxy wars between Sudan, Libya and Chad.
A famine in the mid-1980s disrupted many societal structures and led to the first significant fighting amongst Darfuris. A low level conflict continued for the next 15 years, with the government co-opting and arming Arab Janjaweed militias against its enemies.
The fighting reached a peak in 2003 with the beginning of the Darfur conflict, in which the resistance coalesced into a roughly cohesive rebel movement. The conflict soon came to be regarded as one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. The insurgency and counter-insurgency have led to 480,000 deaths, though the numbers are disputed by the Khartoum government.
Over 2.8 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict. Many of these refugees have gone into camps where emergency aid has created conditions that, although extremely basic, are better than in the villages, which offer no protection against the various militias that operate in the region.
Whilst nearly two thirds of the population is still struggling to survive in remote villages, their needs have been largely overlooked by the international community, and in the face of soaring inflation in Sudan many families are facing serious difficulties.
Virtually no foreigners are able to visit the region because of the fear of kidnapping, and only organizations such as Kids for Kids are continuing to provide long-term grass roots assistance.(T/P09/P04).
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)