Dozens Killed in Renewed West Darfur Clashes

Inter-communal clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs left at least 30 people dead and 40 others injured in Sudan’s West Darfur state on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses and officials.

Local militia supported by a paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, attacked internally displaced persons in Kreinik camp and torched their houses, witnesses said. 

 

The latest wave of fighting, which has been going on for weeks, stemmed from a dispute late Saturday between a customer and the owner of a cell phone store who was shot dead. 

Arab fighters known as Janjaweed attacked the camp early Sunday morning after the murder. 

Thirty bodies were brought to Kreinik Hospital and more than 40 others who were wounded were treated there, Mustafa Mohammed Zain, a medical assistant at Kirenik Hospital, told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus on Monday.

“Up to now we are still receiving wounded people even though the fighting stopped at around five a.m. this morning,” he said. “Some of them are in critical condition and some might die within the coming one or two hours.”

The hospital lacks basic medical equipment and does not have enough medical workers to respond to the wounded, Zain said. He called on state and national health authorities to urgently intervene.

“This is a big, rural hospital and it cannot be managed only by medical officers,” Zain said. “The government is supposed to send us doctors to help the situation.”

The hospital has run out of supplies like gauze and cotton, Zain said.

“We used all the reserve stock,” he said. “Medical workers are not safe and cannot go to the nearest location to get more medical supplies.”

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan said an estimated 4,300 people have been displaced from the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur state in the last week due to fighting.

Mohammed Issa Alieu, the acting regional governor for Darfur, last week called the humanitarian situation in Jebel Moon “horrific” and appealed to aid agencies to quickly intervene.

Thousands of displaced families have fled to eastern Chad and are exposed to bad weather, Alieu said.

Adam Rijal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, a local advocacy group for IDP’s, told South Sudan in Focus that some political leaders in Sudan’s transitional government are behind what he calls “systematic” attacks on indigenous civilians in Darfur.

Renewed clashes erupted between different groups across the Darfur region shortly after the joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission ended its mandate a year ago.

Rijal blames the United Nations Security Council for what he calls a unilateral decision to withdraw from the area without consulting the affected population in Darfur.

“We are supposed to have a voice on this decision because we are the ones facing the pain of the situation more than any other people,” he said.

Despite a peace agreement signed between the government and armed groups in Darfur more than a year ago, the area has seen repeated clashes between different ethnic communities. 

A land dispute last month between communities in the Jebel Moon area led to clashes that left at least 17 people dead.

Under the Juba Peace Agreement, various forces were supposed to deploy a 12,000-strong presence in Darfur within 90 days to secure the area and provide protection for civilians.

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