A Salamat tribe leader said that alleged war criminal Ali Kushayb has waged fresh attacks in South Darfur with support of the Sudanese military intelligence. He added the assault happened hours after warring tribes signed a peace treaty.
Rahad El Berdi locality, where many battles have been occurring in South Darfur, is the stronghold of the Al Taaysha tribe.
Ali Kushayb, from the Al Taaysha tribe himself, is reported to be the commander of the Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) in Rahad El Berdi.
He is accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of committing murders, rapes and forcibly displacing thousands of people in Darfur.
Salamat leader and member of the legislative council of South Darfur Mohamed Al Bashir Musa told Radio Dabanga fresh attacks by Kushayb took place in the Fundu area, northwest of Rahad El Berdi city on Monday.
“They entered the area in 15 Land Cruisers and were backed by troops belonging to the Sudanese military intelligence”, the leader disclosed.
Just hours before, he continued, the heads of the Salamat and Al Taaysha tribes had signed a peace treaty in South Darfur. Both parties claimed violence had been “contained”.
Musa considers Monday’s assault by Kushayb “a clear breach” of the peace treaty signed by the Salamat in Umm Dukhun and in Rahad El Berdi in two separate occasions.
Members of the native administrations of Salamat and Al Taaysha (ajawid) said fighting between both tribes from Friday to Sunday left “several dead and injured” in South Darfur.
In addition, several shops in Rahad El Berdi city were burned and the city’s market had remained completely shut down until at least Monday, when warring tribes signed a peace treaty.
Musa said the Salamat-Al Taaysha accord dictates that gatherings of fighters must be dispersed and agreements must be made to reconcile both tribes. He reaffirmed his will to abide by the treaty and to work towards reestablishing peace and repairing the social fabric.
For his part, Hammad Al Hussein, member of the legislative council of South Darfur and Al Taaysha representative, also stressed his commitment to stop hostilities in the state adding “there is no reason” for the dispute.
“What is happening in Rahad El Berdi is an extension of the conflicts in Umm Dukhun area”, he said, while describing the situation in the area as “calm”.
Members of both parties then gathered at the city’s market to reassure citizens about their efforts to respect the peace treaty and that shops would be open soon, Hussein said.
He appealed to everyone to keep the situation under control and stop the bloodshed.
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 on 4 April when 4,000 men of both sides began battling each other.
On 10 April leaders of the warring Misseriya and Salamat had signed a cessation of hostilities treaty and agreed to hold a reconciliation conference by 30 April, although clashes resumed soon after.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says Tissi town in neighboring Chad has received 50,000 refugees fleeing Central Darfur’s tribal clashes in one week calling it the “largest influx of refugees from Sudan into Chad since 2005”.
File photo: Ali Kushayb
Related: Central Darfur war: ‘genocide’ led by ICC Ali Kushayb, government -source (14 April 2013)