Group: Death toll in latest Darfur tribal clashes now at 88

A Sudanese medical group says the death toll from weekend tribal clashes in Darfur has climbed to at least 88 people

ByThe Associated Press
December 08, 2021, 2:40 PM

CAIRO -- A Sudanese medical group said Wednesday that the death toll from weekend tribal clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs in the country's western Darfur region climbed to at least 88 people.

The fighting grew out of a financial dispute late Saturday between two individuals in a camp for displaced persons in the Kreinik area in West Darfur province. The following day, Arab militias known as janjaweed attacked the camp and surrounding villages. The militias torched and looted properties, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

Most of the displaced are from the African Masalit tribe, who were forced to leave their homes during the Darfur conflict, according to Adam Regal, the spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur.

The Sudan Doctors Committee said it tallied at least 88 dead and 84 wounded from all sides since the clashes erupted on Dec. 4. It said most of the causalities suffered gun shots and that the humanitarian situation in the area was “catastrophic.”

Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council on Tuesday said it would deploy a joint force to Darfur, to help secure the region which has seen a spike in tribal violence in recent weeks.

The African country is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising forced the overthrow of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019, after nearly three decades of rule.

Before the weekend violence, 62 people had been killed in several bouts of intercommunal clashes in West Darfur and South Darfur provinces since October, according to the doctors committee. With the latest killings, the overall death toll for this time period is at least 150.

The tribal violence poses a significant challenge to the transitional government in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, which is seeking to end decades-long rebellions in Darfur in elsewhere in the country.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination. Al-Bashir’s government has been accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing the janjaweed on civilians — a charge it denies.

Al-Bashir, jailed in Khartoum since his ouster, faces international charges of genocide and crimes against humanity related to the Darfur conflict.

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