South Sudanese government soldiers sit in a pick-up truck at the military base in Malakal, northern South Sudan, on October 16, 2016. AFP
Toby Harward, a coordinator with the UNHCR, said the fighting grew out of a land dispute between Arab and African tribes in the town of Kulbus in West Darfur province.
Abkar al-Toum, a tribal leader in the town, said the dead included at least 62 bodies found burned after troops set more than 20 villages on fire. He said many people were still unaccounted for. He claimed the attackers gained control of water resources, aggravating the humanitarian situation in the area. He did not elaborate.
Abbas Mustafa, a local official, said authorities have deployed more infantry to the area. He said the past week of fighting displaced at least 5,000 families.
Harward called for ``neutral joint forces'' to provide protection for civilians in the area. ``If there is no intervention or mediation, & violence is allowed to continue, farmers will not be able to cultivate & the agricultural season will fail,'' he said in a series of posts on Twitter.
The news outlet Radio Dabanga reported that the fighting reached the nearby province of North Darfur, causing partial damage to two villages there.
The fighting was the latest bout of tribal violence in Darfur. It came as the country remains mired in a wider crisis following an October military takeover.
Since late last year, eruptions of tribal violence and surges in the fighting in Darfur have killed hundreds of people. In April, after a similar bout of clashes killed over 200, the Sudanese military said it deployed a brigade to the province.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic African tribes rebelled against Al-Bashir's Arab-majority government; the government was accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic tribes with weapons, a charge it denies.