35 people were killed and 16 villages were burned as a result of tribal clashes that erupted in the Darfur region of western Sudan due to the looting of livestock, a government official confirmed Thursday.
“The clashes left more than 35 people dead on both sides and completely burned about 16 villages, the majority of whom are from the Misseriya al-Jabal tribe,” Omar Abdel Karim, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, told AFP by phone from El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur.
According to Abdel Karim, violence has erupted since November 17 between the Misseriya al-Jabal tribe and a group of Arab tribes, in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur.
He noted that some villages inhabited by Arabs were also burned, and the residents were forced to flee to neighboring Chad.
Abdullah Abkar, the governor of West Darfur, confirmed to AFP on Thursday that the clashes took place due to “differences due to the looting of camels last week,” adding that “military reinforcements were sent to the area and the situation has stabilized.”
In 2003, Darfur witnessed a civil war during the rule of ousted President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 following mass protests against his three-decade rule.
The war, which left 300,000 dead, according to United Nations statistics, erupted when a group of African minorities took up arms against Al-Bashir’s government, which is supported by Arabs, under the pretext of political and economic marginalization of the region.
Although the intensity of the main fighting has subsided in the region for years, in the area where the weapons are widespread, violence erupts from time to time due to differences between farmers and herders.
And last month, fighting broke out when the army commander, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced his decisions to dissolve the institutions of civil governance, which resulted in a wave of popular protests that continue to this day.
On October 25, Al-Burhan overthrew the transitional government and arrested its civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, who remained for weeks under house arrest, before he was released on Sunday after signing a political agreement that did not satisfy the civil forces in the country.
Since the overthrow of al-Bashir, Sudan has been seeking to achieve peace in the restive Darfur region, including tribal clashes that erupted immediately after the withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the region at the end of last year.
More than a decade ago, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, accusing him of committing genocide during the Darfur conflict.