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UN says tribal clashes in Sudan’s Darfur kill 40 over 3 days

By SAMY MAGDY | Associated Press | Published: April 5, 2021

CAIRO — Tribal clashes that erupted over the weekend between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan’s western Darfur region have killed at least 40 people and wounded around 60 others, the U.N. said Monday.

The violence was between the Arab Rizeigat and the Masalit tribes in Genena, the provincial capital of West Darfur province. It happened after unknown armed men on Saturday shot dead two people from the Masalit, according to the U.N. humanitarian affairs agency.

Two others from the Masalit were wounded in that shooting, it said. The circumstances of the shootings were not immediately clear.

Since then, the two tribes have mobilized forces and gun fire could still be heard in Genena late Monday, it said.

Adam Regal, a spokesman for a local organization that helps run refugee camps in Darfur, said a shell hit a camp for displaced people in Genena on Monday, causing a fire that burned several houses. He shared video footage showing flames and thick clouds of black smoke.

“The situation is very difficult and grave,” he said.

The Sudanese doctors’ committee in West Darfur said armed men also opened fire on an ambulance late Sunday, wounding three health care workers.

The U.N. said all humanitarian activities were suspended as roads around the southern part of Genena were blocked.

An unknown number of people fled their homes in Hay al-Jabal and al-Jamarik neighborhoods in Genena and took refuge in nearby mosques and public buildings, the U.N. agency added.

West Darfur Gov. Mohammed Abdalla al-Duma said in a statement that officials were taking “necessary measures” without elaborating. He urged residents in Genena to stay vigilant and remain at home until security forces contain the situation.

The clashes posed a challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in areas like Darfur.

Earlier this year, tribal violence in West Darfur and South Darfur provinces killed around 470 people. It also displaced more than 120,000 people, mostly women and children, including at least 4,300 who crossed into neighboring Chad, according to the U.N.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country.