Sixty-five killed in West Darfur


Violence in Sudan’s West Darfur region left at least 65 dead and more than 50 injured, as well as displacing thousands, an international peacekeeping mission said.

Inter-communal clashes that erupted on December 29 were the worst in West Darfur for years, though details of casualties have been slow to emerge.

The violence presents a challenge to military and civilian authorities sharing power following the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir. They are trying to broker peace in Darfur and other parts of the country affected by civil conflict.

Violence in West Darfur broke out after a dispute between Arab and African ethnic groups in the state capital el-Geneina. Arab militiamen raided a camp for internally displaced people and attacked and burned several villages, according to residents.

The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, was concerned by the “deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in el-Geneina and surrounding areas”.

Conflict spread in Darfur in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against Khartoum. Government forces and mainly Arab militia which moved to repress the revolt were accused of atrocities.

West Darfur was largely calm since 2010, though there were occasional skirmishes over the past three years.

On Thursday and Friday there were clashes in the east at Port Sudan between Beni Amer and Nuba ethnic groups that left eight dead and dozens injured, according to a local doctors’ group.

The Beni Amer and Nuba clashed in the past but signed a reconciliation deal last September following violence that left at least 16 dead.