Wednesday saw a lull in the violence in and around Um Dukhun in Central Darfur, but gathering groups of Misseriya and Salamat tribesmen ensure that the situation remains tense.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Khartoum on Thursday, Abdulrahman Ibrahim, adviser to the state government of Central Darfur said that the fires caused by violent clashes that erupted between tribesmen on Tuesday are still burning, while looting still continues in the city. He said that the majority of the Salamat residents of Um Dukhun have fled to Kalma camp across the border in Chad.
Witnesses report that ‘Misseriya’ militiamen looted the city market, breaking into shops on Wednesday and Thursday. They reportedly loaded their loot onto Land Cruisers in full view of the Sudanese army, security services, police, Abu Tira, and elements of the joint Sudanese-Chadian force.
Sources confirmed to Radio Dabanga that Salamat houses in the city were still burning Thursday. It was also not possible to collect the dead. “The bodies of people killed in the clashes are lying in the open, because if anyone tries to recover them, they are shot at.”
The movement and gathering of Misseriya and Salamat fighters “in all directions” means that the clashes could easily flare-up again at any time.
A Tribal leader from Zalingei has accused Central Darfur authorities of not moving quickly enough to respond to the incident. “No federal or state officials have shown their face, nor have they or sent reinforcements to keep the warring parties apart,” he complained.
“The government said that it would start a reconciliation mechanism, and send reinforcements and troops, but nothing has yet happened.” He told Radio Dabanga he is expecting clashes between the two sides to resume at any time.
File photo: Tribal leaders at the November 2013 Unamid Civil Affairs Sector South Conference to Address Tribal Conflicts in Darfur in Nyala, South Darfur (Hamid Abdulsalam / Unamid)
Central Darfur town ‘a battlefield’ as Misseriya, Salamat clash (19 February 2014)
Salamat Omda warns of renewed tribal violence in Darfur (13 February 2014)