Over 100 people killed in Darfur tribal clashes
Fresh violent clashes between rival tribes in the South Darfur region of western Sudan have claimed the lives of at least 100 people and injured hundreds of others, sources say.
Local residents say the casualties were caused after fierce clashes erupted between the Rizeigat and Habbaniya tribes in the Abyad area of the Sunut locality over cattle raiding on Tuesday night.
Eyewitnesses say dozens of dead bodies were lying on the streets as of Thursday evening across the Abyad area.
Medical sources at the Buram local hospital have confirmed that they had received at least 100 bodies as of Thursday afternoon. Medics say they have been overwhelmed with the number of the injured as well.
“At the moment what I can say is that we received 100 bodies and around 250 wounded,” an unnamed source said, adding, ‘’The problem now is that our capacity is very limited, so we started to transfer some of the critical cases to Nyala hospital.’’
Meanwhile, both sides have accused each other of starting the hostilities.
Ahmed Fadul from the Rizeigat tribe has blamed certain members of the Habbaniya tribe for being involved in cattle raiding.
“The Rizeigat were defending themselves and their property,” Fadul said, adding, “We lost around 70 fighters and the other side has as well.”
However, Alfaki Gad Almula from the Habbaniya tribe also claimed innocence, saying that Habbaniya people were the ones attacked by heavily-armed and well-equipped Rizeigat fighters.
“A large group of angry Rizeigat fighters riding in Land Cruisers, and others on horses, attacked the Habbaniya, and shelled Abyad with RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and other missiles.”
Almula also noted that more than 130 Rizeigat and 40 Habbaniya were killed during the ongoing clashes.
The governor of the South Darfur state, Adam Alfaki, has called on both sides to refrain from any further escalation of violence.
Local authorities have sent reinforcements to the Sunut locality to reestablish order in the violence-wracked region.
Hundreds of people also lost their lives during a series of bloody tribal clashes between the Rizeigat and Maalia tribes last May.
Tribal conflicts have claimed the lives of thousands of people across Darfur over the years.
The United Nations says at least 400,000 people have been displaced in the past six months due to communal conflicts in the region.
Darfur has also been the scene of violence since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum.
The UN estimates that the violence in Darfur has so far killed some 300,000 people and internally displaced over two million others.
Khartoum, however, disputes the figures, estimating the death toll at no more than 10,000.