Tribal clashes in Sudan oil state kill 15: chief

AFP , Monday 2 May 2011

Tribal clashes over a land dispute in Sudan's oil-producing state of South Kordofan left at least 15 people dead

"Clashes between different groups of the Misseriya tribe took place on Sunday, because of differences over a piece of land. Fifteen people were killed and 10 injured," one of the Misseriya chiefs, Omar al-Ansari, told AFP by telephone.

"Then the governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Harun, arrived in the area, accompanied by the tribal chief, and they were able to stop the clashes. Now the situation is calm," he added.

An army source in the area, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that deadly clashes erupted on Sunday between two branches of the Misseriya Arab nomad tribe near the Belila oil field in the western part of South Kordofan. He put the death toll at 16.

South Kordofan, which has a long border with south Sudan, which is due to be recognised as an independent state in July, is one of the most militarised regions in the country.

It was a key battleground during the devastating 22-year civil war between Khartoum and the southern rebels.

The heavily-armed Misseriya were a key proxy militia of the northern army during the war and migrate during the dry season to find ever-scarcer water and pasture for their livestock, most notoriously to the flashpoint border district of Abyei.

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