- Leena M.G Osman
Intercommunal clashes : Resurgence of Violence in West Darfur
Violent tension and clashes involving Arab Rizeigat tribes and non-Arab Masalit communities in Al Geneina town - the capital of the Sudanese West Darfur State, has led to hundreds of casualties. Since the eruption of violent clashes on the 15th of January in the West Darfur, attacks on women and children, as well as humanitarian facilities such as the burning of camp for the displaced, have been reported
According to the UN humanitarian affairs agency, the series of deadly clashes were triggered by a shooting that killed two people from the non-Arab Masalit tribe.
To date, the UN has reported that over 250 people, including three humanitarian workers, were killed and over 100,000 were displaced in Sudan’s Darfur region. Considering that security has deteriorated across Darfur since 2019, Sudan’s government has declared a state of emergency in the region, deploying troops to West Darfur.
The sequence of clashes are the latest manifestation of the resurgence of violence since the signing of the peace agreement in October of last year and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers. The peace deal signed between Sudan’s transitional government and various rebel groups aimed to resolve the years of internal conflict that plagued the State.
Provisions of the agreement set the terms for the integration of rebels into security forces, increase their political representation and ensure their entitlement to economic and land rights. However, the absence of certain rebel groups reflected the many challenges that could possibly hinder the peace process.
Defense Minister Major General Yassin Ibrahim stated that the Government is taking the necessary measures to end the fighting and deal with any breaches in the peace agreements, with the supervision of a higher committee formed from local councils.
The Sudanese Doctor’s Committee strongly condemned the attacks, referring to the violence as “barbaric behavior which cannot be justified under any circumstances.”
Sudan’s Darfur region has been marked by a brutal civil war since 2003. According to the UN, the ongoing conflict has killed approximately 300,000 people and left 2.5 million displaced.
It is evident that the turbulent ethnic unrest poses a threat to the realization of the efforts of Sudan’s transitional government in sustaining peace and ensuring it’s transition to democracy. Moreover, intercommunal violence only further exacerbates the fragile and dire humanitarian situation.