Dozens die and thousands flee in West Darfur

Deadly clashes erupt in three separate areas with poor medical facilities as wider Darfur region slides into violence

Tribal fighting has killed dozens of people over the past three weeks in three separate areas of Sudan’s West Darfur region and thousands of people have fled the violence, local medics have said.

The West Darfur Doctors Committee said in statements on Wednesday and Thursday that attacks in the Kreinik area killed 88 and wounded 84, while renewed violence in the Jebel Moon area killed 25 and wounded four. Meanwhile, violence in the Sarba locality killed eight and wounded six.

“They have created a wave of displacement from the outskirts into the town, with a humanitarian situation that can be described at the very least as catastrophic,” the committee said in a statement late on Wednesday, referring to Kreinik.

One resident said a camp of displaced people had been flattened and thousands of people had sought refuge in government buildings.

“The area is completely destroyed,” the resident said.

In the rugged Jebel Moon mountains of West Darfur, violence first broke out on 17 November between armed Arab camel herders.

Separate clashes erupted on Saturday in the Krink region of West Darfur between rival groups using automatic weapons.

“Many of the wounded died because they could not reach medical facilities, and community clinics in rural areas are not equipped,” the doctors’ union in West Darfur said on Thursday.

It said 106 people had been wounded.

Analysts say a peace deal signed by some rebel groups in October 2020 was one cause of unrest as local groups jostled for power.

A joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission stopped patrolling in January.

Humanitarian groups said there had been a rise in conflict across the wider Darfur region recently.

The Zamzam refugee camp was being encircled by militias on Wednesday and the Donki Shata area of North Darfur was also attacked, the committee said on Wednesday.

The Coordinating Committee for Refugee and Displacement Camps, a local NGO, said on Wednesday there was renewed violence in the Jebel Moon area, where aid workers reported 43 people killed and 10,000 displaced in violence in November.

According to the United Nations, the fighting has displaced more than 22,000 people, with 2,000 fleeing across the border into Chad.

Darfur has been ruled by emergency orders from Khartoum since 2003 when it was ravaged by civil war that erupted between ethnic minority rebels, who complained of discrimination, and the Arab-dominated government of then president Omar al-Bashir.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed militias, blamed for atrocities including mass killings, rape, and the looting and burning of villages.

The violence resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes. The UN estimates more than 350,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million displaced by conflict in the region.

Aid groups and Darfur residents complain that the militias continue to carry out attacks on villages and camps. About 430,000 people have been displaced over the past year, a four-fold increase over 2020, aid groups say.

“National authorities and the international community must urgently deal with the bloody reality of this spiralling violence,” Will Carter of the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement on Wednesday.


Arab Observer

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