168 dead and around 100 injured in Sunday’s clashes in the restive Darfur region

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Darfur, ravaged by civil war since 2003, experienced a peak in deadly conflicts from October. This violence erupted when armed tribesmen attacked non-Arab minority Massalit villages in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen.

Clashes between rival groups in Darfur, Sudan, killed at least 168 people on Sunday, a humanitarian group said, in the latest bout of deadly violence to hit the restive region.

Darfur, which was ravaged by the civil war that erupted in 2003, has seen an upsurge in deadly conflict since October last year, sparked by disputes mainly over land, livestock and access to water and pasture.

The latest fighting broke out Friday in the Krink region of West Darfur, said Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced Persons in Darfur, an independent aid group.

“At least 168 people were killed on Sunday and 98 injured,” Regal said, fearing the death toll could rise.

The violence erupted when armed tribesmen attacked non-Arab minority Massalit villages in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen, the aid group said.

At least eight people were killed on Friday, he added.

On Sunday, a tribal leader from the Massalit minority described seeing several bodies in villages in the Krink area, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from West Darfur’s provincial capital, Geneina.

Doctors from the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors have warned of “catastrophic” health conditions in West Darfur, saying several hospitals have been attacked during the violence.

The “Janjawids” blamed

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on the authorities to ensure the safe arrival of the injured in hospitals.

United Nations Special Representative Volker Perthes condemned the killings and called for an investigation.

Footage posted online on Sunday showed burning houses sending plumes of thick black smoke into the sky, while others showed round patches of scorched earth where huts stood before being set on fire.

AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.

On Sunday, the aid group accused Arab Janjaweed militiamen of orchestrating the latest attacks.

The predominantly Arab militia rose to prominence in the early 2000s for its role in suppressing an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur.

Many of its members have since been integrated into the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, Sudan’s de facto deputy leader, according to rights groups.

Regal said the militiamen had in recent weeks “committed murder, arson, looting and merciless torture”.

The conflict that erupted in 2003 was between ethnic minority rebels who complained of discrimination against the Arab-dominated government of then President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir’s government responded by releasing the Janjaweed, mostly recruited from Arab pastoral tribes, who were accused of atrocities including murder, rape, looting and burning of villages.

The fighting has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to UN figures.

The main conflict has died down in much of Darfur, but the region remains awash in weapons and deadly clashes often erupt mainly over access to pasture or water.

Bashir was ousted in April 2019 after months of mass protests against his rule. He remains wanted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur conflict.

In recent months, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of homes burned down in several episodes of violence in Darfur, according to the UN and doctors.

168 dead in Sunday’s clashes in Sudan’s restive region: aid group
Clashes in Sudan: The last fighting broke out on Friday in the Krink region (Representational)

Khartoum, Sudan: Clashes between rival groups in Sudan’s Darfur killed at least 168 people on Sunday, a humanitarian group said, in the latest bout of deadly violence to hit the restive region.
Darfur, which was ravaged by the civil war that erupted in 2003, has seen an upsurge in deadly conflict since October last year, sparked by disputes mainly over land, livestock and access to water and pasture.

The latest fighting broke out Friday in the Krink region of West Darfur, said Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced Persons in Darfur, an independent aid group.

“At least 168 people were killed on Sunday and 98 injured,” Regal said, fearing the death toll could rise.

The violence erupted when armed tribesmen attacked non-Arab minority Massalit villages in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen, the aid group said.

At least eight people were killed on Friday, he added.

On Sunday, a tribal leader from the Massalit minority described seeing several bodies in villages in the Krink area, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from West Darfur’s provincial capital, Geneina.

Doctors from the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors have warned of “catastrophic” health conditions in West Darfur, saying several hospitals have been attacked during the violence.

The “Janjawids” blamed

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on the authorities to ensure the safe arrival of the injured in hospitals.

United Nations Special Representative Volker Perthes condemned the killings and called for an investigation.

Footage posted online on Sunday showed burning houses sending plumes of thick black smoke into the sky, while others showed round patches of scorched earth where huts stood before being set on fire.

AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.

On Sunday, the aid group accused Arab Janjaweed militiamen of orchestrating the latest attacks.

The predominantly Arab militia rose to prominence in the early 2000s for its role in suppressing an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur.

Many of its members have since been integrated into the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, Sudan’s de facto deputy leader, according to rights groups.

Regal said the militiamen had in recent weeks “committed murder, arson, looting and merciless torture”.

The conflict that erupted in 2003 was between ethnic minority rebels who complained of discrimination against the Arab-dominated government of then President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir’s government responded by releasing the Janjaweed, mostly recruited from Arab pastoral tribes, who were accused of atrocities including murder, rape, looting and burning of villages.

The fighting has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to UN figures.

The main conflict has died down in much of Darfur, but the region remains awash in weapons and deadly clashes often erupt mainly over access to pasture or water.

Bashir was ousted in April 2019 after months of mass protests against his rule. He remains wanted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur conflict.

In recent months, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of homes burned down in several episodes of violence in Darfur, according to the UN and doctors.

The latest violence reflected a wider security breakdown in Darfur following last year’s military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which derailed the transition to a full civilian rule after Bashir’s ouster.

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