Sudan: 160 Killed in Fresh Violence in Restive Darfur
Clashes between rival groups in Sudan’s restive Darfur region killed at least 160 people on Sunday, an aid group said.
The violence first erupted on Friday and is still ongoing in the Krink region of West Darfur, said Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid group.
The group said eight people were killed on Friday alone.
Regal said at least 46 people were also wounded in the fighting, and voiced fears that the death toll could rise.
A tribal leader from the non-Arab Massalit minority described seeing multiple bodies in villages of the Krink region, which lies some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from West Darfur’s provincial capital, Geneina.
On Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross called on authorities to ensure the safe arrival of the wounded to hospitals.
The latest bout of violence broke out after armed Arab tribesmen attacked villages of the Massalit minority in retaliation for Thursday’s killing of two tribesmen, the aid group said.
Images posted online showed burning houses sending plumes of thick black smoke to the sky, while others showed round patches of scorched earth where huts had stood before they were set alight.
AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.
On Saturday the aid group accused the mainly Arab Janjaweed militia of orchestrating the attack on the Massalit villages.
The Janjaweed gained notoriety in the early 2000s for its role in the repression of an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur.
Krink and neighbouring villages are suffering under a “tight economic blockade by the Janjaweed militias”, Regal said on Saturday.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of houses torched in several bouts of violence in Darfur in recent months, the United Nations and medics say.
Darfur was the scene of a bitter conflict in 2003 between ethnic minority rebels and the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to UN figures.
Large-scale fighting has subsided across much of Darfur but the region remains awash with weapons and deadly clashes often erupt over access to pasture or water.
The latest violence has reflected a broader security breakdown in Darfur following last year’s military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, that derailed a transition to full civilian rule.