31 dead in Sudan tribal clashes near Ethiopia border

AFP , Saturday 16 Jul 2022

Dozens of families were Saturday fleeing violence in Sudan's Blue Nile State, where ongoing clashes between two tribes have killed at least 31 people, local officials said.

Security forces
File Photo: Security forces have been deployed to an area of Blue Nile state to restore order following the tribal clashes. AFP


At least 39 others have been wounded and 16 shops torched since the violence broke out on Monday over a land dispute between the Berti and Hawsa tribes.

"We need more troops to control the situation," local official Adel Agar from the city of Al-Roseires told AFP on Saturday.

He also called for mediators to de-escalate tensions that have resulted in many "dead and wounded". He did not give a detailed toll.

Blue Nile governor Ahmed al-Omda issued an order Friday prohibiting any gatherings or marches for one month. Soldiers were also deployed and a night curfew was imposed on Saturday.

Clashes resumed Saturday after a brief lull, close to the state capital Al-Damazin on Saturday, witnesses said.

"We heard gun shots," resident Fatima Hamad told AFP from the city of Al-Roseires across the river from Al-Damazin, "and saw smoke rising" from the south.

Al-Damazin resident Ahmed Youssef said that "dozens of families" crossed the bridge into the city to flee the unrest.

An urgent appeal for blood donations was launched by hospitals for the treatment of casualties from the unrest, according to medical sources.

A medical source from Al-Roseires Hospital told AFP the facility had "run out of first aid equipment".

"Additional personnel" are needed, the source said, adding that the number of injured people is "rising".

The violence broke out after the Berti tribe rejected a Hawsa request to create a "civil authority to supervise access to land", a prominent Hawsa member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

But a senior member of the Bertis said the tribe was responding to a "violation" of its lands by the Hawsas.

The Qissan region and Blue Nile state more generally have long seen unrest, with southern guerrillas a thorn in the side of Sudan's former strongman president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the army in 2019 following street pressure.

Experts say last year's coup, led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, created a security vacuum that has fostered a resurgence in tribal violence, in a country where deadly clashes regularly erupt over land, livestock, access to water and grazing.

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