The attackers repulsed by armed men in an incident days after clashes in a troubled region left hundreds dead.
Unknown gunmen attempted to storm the residence of a provincial governor in Sudan’s Darfur region, but were pushed back by guards, officials said.
The attempted attack on the residence of the Governor of West Darfur, Mohammed Abdalla al-Douma in El Geneina, the state capital of West Darfur, was neither injured nor damaged, but it highlighted the heightened tensions in the troubled region where an episode of inter-ethnic violence has killed more than 200 people since last week.
A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, reportedly told the Associated Press news agency that the attackers opened fire on the heavily fortified residence, prompting the guards to retaliate. The exchange lasted over an hour.
A statement from the governor on Wednesday said the incident was aimed at creating “instability and chaos” in the province.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the statement, released by the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), does not specify who the attackers were.
The governor and his staff are safe and “unharmed,” the statement added.
Earlier this week, Sudanese government officials visited El Geneina to discuss the recent spike in violence with the governor.
The fighting between members of the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the non-Arab Massalit tribe arose out of a Friday brawl in a camp for internally displaced persons. Some 159 people on both sides, including women and children, were killed, according to a statement from Sudan’s Central Medical Committee, a local branch of the country’s doctors’ union.
Among the dead in the violence in West Darfur were three aid workers, UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan Babacar Cissé said on Wednesday.
He called for an end to the clashes and for the accountability of those involved. He did not provide further details.
The fighting has also resulted in the displacement of at least 90,000 people, who have taken refuge in schools, government buildings and neighboring villages, according to the UN.
Authorities in West Darfur imposed a 24-hour curfew throughout the province and allowed the army and police to use “all necessary force” to restore order. The central government in Khartoum has also deployed security reinforcements.
Separate clashes in southern Darfur on Monday between members of the Fallata ethnic group and the Rizeigat Arab tribe left at least 55 dead and 37 injured.
Meanwhile, reports said the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday on the situation in Darfur.
The meeting will be held behind closed doors and was requested by three non-permanent council members – Norway, Ireland and Estonia – and three permanent members – the United States, Britain and France, said the AFP news agency quoting diplomats.
The latest wave of violence in Darfur poses a challenge to Sudan’s transitional government as it struggles to end civil war in the country’s most remote areas. It is also a major test of the government’s ability to protect civilians in the war-torn region following the end of the mandate of the joint UN-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping force in Darfur this month. .
The latest events also follow the signing of a peace accord between the government and several rebel forces in October, hoping to end years of war that left the region bitterly divided and inundated with weapons.
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, after nearly three decades of rule. A joint military-civilian government is now in power.