Clashes Kill Eight in Sudan’s Darfur: Aid Group

Clashes between Arab tribesmen and ethnic minority farmers in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region have killed eight people and wounded 16, an aid group said on Saturday.

The fighting broke out on Friday in Krink, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the West Darfur state capital of Geneina, when armed Arab tribesmen attacked villages of the non-Arab Massalit minority in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen, the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid organization, said.

The clashes “led to the deaths of eight citizens,” said its spokesman Adam Regal.

Dozens of homes were burned and large numbers of families displaced, he added.

Rzeigat tribal leaders said the fighting was sparked by the killing of two Arab tribesmen on Thursday by gunmen who took refuge in Massalit villages.

The aid group accused the Janjaweed of orchestrating the attack on the Massalit villages. The mainly Arab militia, many of whose members have since been integrated into the security forces, gained notoriety in the early 2000s for its role in the repression of an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur.

Regal said Krink and neighboring villages were suffering under a “tight economic blockade by the Janjaweed militias,” in addition to recurrent “threats” and “looting.”

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.

The conflict that erupted in 2003 between ethnic minority rebels and the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to U.N. figures.

Large-scale fighting has abated across much of Darfur, but the region remains awash with weapons and deadly clashes often erupt over access to pasture or water.

The clashes often take on an ethnic dimension as the region’s Arab tribes are largely pastoralists while many of the region’s settled farmers are drawn from minority groups.

A peace deal was signed in 2020 but since a military coup in October, Darfur has seen violence spike, with hundreds killed in fighting between herders and farmers.

Source: Voice of America