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East Darfur tribal fighting leaves seven dead

April 9 - 2017 ED DAEIN
Abbala tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)
Abbala tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)

Seven tribesmen were killed and four others sustained injuries in clashes between Ma’aliya and Rizeigat in East Darfur on Saturday.

After the East Darfur government deployed buffer forces in the area of El Khamsat where the fighting erupted, an uneasy calm returned to the area, journalists reported to Radio Dabanga.

The fighting was reportedly triggered by the theft of 120 sheep west of Abu Karinka town. Witnesses recounted how a Ma’aliya search party tracked down the sheep near El Khamsat on Saturday. Heavily armed Rizeigat confronted them which led to fierce fighting in which five Rizeigat and two Ma’aliya tribesmen were killed. Four Rizeigat were wounded.

The Governor of East Darfur, Anas Omar Fadlelmoula vowed to put an end to “the crimes of the outlaws and bandits”. He urged “all to cooperate with the regular forces to maintain security and stability, and implement development projects”.

Bloody conflicts over landownership and cattle rustling between the Ma’aliya and the southern Rizeigat in East Darfur go back decades. Peace agreements between the two pastoralist tribes are broken over and over again. The last, comprehensive agreement was signed in August last year. In October, they reached a new reconciliation agreement, facilitated by the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid). In end October, the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca visited the area of El Daein, the stronghold of the southern Rizeigat, and Abu Karinka, the traditional territory of the Ma’aliya, in a bid to reach definite peace between the tribes.

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