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After 10,000 displaced Salamat-Misseriya sign treaty in Darfur

April 11 - 2013 UMM DUKHUN

Misseriya and Salamat tribes’ leaders signed on Thursday a ceasefire treaty to end the war in Central Darfur which displaced at least 10,000 people in one week.

According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), since 4 April some 10,000 people have arrived in Tissi, Chad, from Umm Dukhun, located some 10 kilometers away from the Sudanese border. “And there’s every indication that more are on their way”, MSF added.

“They tell similar stories, of villages attacked and set on fire by armed men on horseback, of neighbors and family members killed, of women and children abandoning all their belongings and taking flight”, a press release read.

UNHCR says Umm Dukhun’s displaced, who include dozens of wounded, have now joined the 25,000 previously settled refugees in Tissa.

“Roughly one-third of [them] were from Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR), while the rest were originally from Chad but had relocated to Darfur and CAR.

More than 90 percent are women. They’ve been living under trees or in makeshift shelters, having thus far gone without any assistance”, the agency says.

Tensions in Umm Dukhun began to rise after a member of the Misseriya tribe allegedly tried looting and opening fire on a Salamat man, who was not hurt. Hostilities erupted the next day when 4,000 men of both sides began battling each other.

According to Babiker Khabusa, commissioner of president’s affairs in Central Darfur, the Misseriya-Salamat ceasefire treaty stipulates the following: stop the war immediately; dismantle fighters’ camps; restore peace and stability; allow displaced to return to their villages; renounce the militarization of citizens.

It also stipulates that fighters must liberate seized territories; and roads and corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid must be opened. A reconciliation conference was scheduled for 30 April.

The treaty was signed by Misseriya Nazir Abdul Karim Al Haj Adam Omar and by Salamat Nazir Mohamed Al Bashir Musa. Umm Dukhun’s commissioner appealed to both tribes to abide by the terms of the agreement and renounce war.

The signing event was witnessed by Umm Dukhun’s local security committee, the locality’s social peace committee, and by the head deputy of the legislative council of Central Darfur, Abdul Karim Yunes.

Last Thursday local and tribal leaders had formed a mediation committee in a failed attempt to prevent problems from escalating in Umm Dukhun.

Misseriya and Salamat leaders swore an oath to abide by the agreement and guaranteed they would transmit the word to their comrades. A source had claimed that “90 percent of the problems have been solved”.

According to the latest death tolls from Monday, different witness accounts put the total number of dead as high as 163 in several different clashes in and around Umm Dukhun.

Photo: Refugees displaced by violence in Darfur have settled in Tissi (MSF)

Related: Central Darfur fighters ‘close to catching ICC’s Ali Kushayb’ (10 April 2013)

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