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10+ dead in renewed Blue Nile state clashes

October 20 - 2022 ED DAMAZIN / El ROSEIRES
Victims of the clashes in Um Darfa, Blue Nile state, in September (social media)
Victims of the clashes in Um Darfa, Blue Nile state, in September (social media)

More than 10 people were killed during renewed inter-communal clashes in the Wad El Mahi locality in Blue Nile state yesterday. Following these events, the regional government prevented large gatherings and vehicle rental, as well as imposing a curfew in an effort to stem the violence.

This is the second time the disputed Wad El Mahi territory has witnessed conflict this month. On October 13, at least 13 people died and 24 were injured, according to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) flash update.

Mohamed Moussa Ibrahim, a Hausa leader in the area, told Radio Dabanga that thousands were displaced from Wad El Mahi, most of them being “old people, women and children”.

He added that “no humanitarian, food or health assistance has been provided to the displaced so far”, saying that the region’s humanitarian condition is in dire need due to the “lack of the most basic necessities of life”.

Renewed conflict

Intercommunal violence in the area saw at least 162 people killed since July.

The intercommunal violence that erupted in mid-July between Hausa, Berta, El Hamaj, and other ethnic groups in the northern part of Blue Nile state, which left at least 105 people dead and caused thousands to flee to the state's capital Ed Damazin and safe parts of El Roseires, has flared up before.

In September, at least 24 people were killed as the violence resurfaced. 149 people died before October 6, according to OCHA.

Hausa protests

The clashes also sparked protests across Sudan, as the Hausa people demanded justice for the dead. Most of the demonstrations remained peaceful, but the protests in Kassala in eastern Sudan turned into bloody clashes after angry young Hausa torched government offices in the city. Five of them reportedly died.

Recently, Hausa youth planned a protest escalation to demand the dismissal of the governor of Kassala after he refused to implement the terms of a memorandum they submitted asking to investigate the killings of the five Hausa protesters. They also demanded the release of all those detained during the protest.

Racism

The Hausa in Sudan are part of the Hausa ethnic group, which is very influential in West Africa, politically and culturally. In the process of traveling and trading for centuries, some of them migrated east to places like Sudan – where they, as ‘black Africans’, are still seen by many as outsiders.

Some activists, for example, tweeted that the Hausa demonstrators in other cities marching in solidarity with the Hausa experiencing violence in Blue Nile state did not receive much support.

“It was heart-breaking to watch the Hausa march alone. I expected more people to show up and tell them “you will never walk alone”, “we’re all Hausa” as resistance committees usually do, instead I noticed a lot of hostility and outright racism,” one of them said about a Hausa solidarity protest in Khartoum.


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