Tribal clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region have killed at least 48 people in the latest wave of violence, state media said.
“The death toll from the militia attacks in al-Geneina yesterday reached 48,” SUNA news agency said on Sunday, referring to the state capital of West Darfur and citing the local branch of the doctors’ union of country.
“The bloody events that have continued since Saturday morning [have] also left … 97 injured.
Saturday’s clashes first pitted the Massalit tribe against Arab nomads in al-Geneina, about two weeks after the United Nations and the African Union ended a 13-year peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
The violence turned into broader fighting involving armed militias in the area, which burned down several buildings, including houses.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Twitter on Saturday that he had ordered a “high-level” delegation, including security services, to be sent to West Darfur to monitor the situation.
The vast region of Darfur was the scene of a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003, claiming an estimated 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
At the time, fighting erupted when ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which responded by recruiting and arming a notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed.
The main conflict has subsided over the years, but ethnic and tribal clashes still erupt periodically, largely pitting nomadic Arab pastoralists against settled farmers from non-Arab ethnic groups.
Violence is often centered on land and access to water.
Sudan is going through a tumultuous political transition after the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 after mass protests against his regime.
The transitional government, a power-sharing deal including generals and civilian figures, pushed to build peace with rebel groups in major conflict areas of Sudan, including Darfur.
But two rebel groups have refused to join a recent peace deal, including the faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdelwahid Nour, which is said to maintain considerable support in Darfur.
The United Nations African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) officially ended its operations on December 31 of last year.
It plans a gradual withdrawal of its 8,000 armed and civilian personnel within six months.