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Eastern Sudanese lawyers: Clashes are political, not tribal

May 22 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Representatives of the Beni Amer and Hadendawa clans sign a peace accord in Port Sudan, November 20, 2019 (RD)
Representatives of the Beni Amer and Hadendawa clans sign a peace accord in Port Sudan, November 20, 2019 (RD)

The Eastern Sudan Lawyers' Association has called for the formation of an independent investigation committees and the establishment of special courts in Red Sea state, Kassala, and El Gedaref to deal with community violence in the region.

In a statement on Thursday, the association also urged the formation of a forum of “wise and influential people” that should deal with violent conflicts between groups of people in eastern Sudan. Furthermore, a special prosecution office for information crimes should be established in the three states.

According to the lawyers, the clashes that took place in the past months were caused by political disputes rather than ethnical differences.

They pointed to “the negative role of the media by using hate speech and stirring up tribal strife” in the three eastern Sudanese states. “The description of the nature of the events has contributed directly to tribal mobilisation,” they said.

Furthermore, they stated that “the presence of armed individuals dressed in civilian clothes increased the number of deaths and material losses”. Sudan’s regular forces should therefore investigate “those who use firearms and were involved in the events”.

The lawyers appealed to eastern Sudanese universities to research the causes of the violence and offer appropriate solutions. They also called for a stop to illegal housing, “that forms the basis for many crimes”.

The association as well stressed the need for a comprehensive peace agreement, after which transitional authority structures can be set-up and parliaments established.

On May 8, people from Nuba tribes in South Kordofan who settled in Kassala years ago and eastern Sudanese Beni Amer and El Habab tribesmen clashed in Kassala. The fighting lasted three days, left eight dead, and more than 80 injured.

Nine days later, leaders of the warring groups signed a reconciliation agreement in Kassala. The accord aims to provide justice for the victims, accountability for the wrongdoers, and rules for coexistence in the area. A police station and three police posts will be established soon in the town districts where the fighting occurred.

Last year, clashes between the Beni Amer and Nuba tribes erupted in various parts of eastern Sudan, claiming the lives of a number of people. On September 9, Port Sudan witnessed the signing of a reconciliation document between Nuba and Beni Amer tribesmen in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state. Two-and-a-half months later, Port Sudan witnessed fighting between two politically divided Beja clans. On November 20, a peace accord was signed.

On March 2 this year, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok attended the signing of a reconciliation accord by Nuba and Beni Amer leaders in Kassala.

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