Juba talks suspended after Darfur violence
Peace talks regarding the Darfur track have been suspended after several people died in clashes between Arab herdsmen and Masalit tribesmen in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur.
The violence erupted on Sunday evening, between the two groups near Kerending camp for displaced people, east of El Geneina. A source told Radio Dabanga that the clashes were sparked by the killing of one of the herdsmen, allegedly by displaced people at the camp.
The source confirmed that the clashes, in which heavy weapons and armed Land Cruisers were used, continued on Monday. The fighting led to the closure of shops, government institutions, and schools. All traffic except for military vehicles came to a halt.
According to a statement by the West Darfur security committee on Monday, the exact number of casualties is still unclear. Five people were killed and six others wounded, and a market was burned near Kerending camp.
The statement further said that the violence was triggered at 8 pm on Sunday by a fight between two people at the video club at the Rugurugu market in the camp, in which one stabbed the other to death. In response, a number of relatives of the victim came and opened heavy fire that led to the burning of the market.
The acting governor of West Darfur ordered a curfew throughout the state, starting from 5 pm on Monday until 6 am today.
The West Darfur security committee called on the people to assist the police and other law enforcement to restore public order. The committee will “take decisive and strict legal measures for anyone who breaches the security and infringes on public and private property”.
On Monday, the General Coordination of Darfur Displaced People and Refugees reported in a statement that eight people were killed, and tens of others wounded and went missing. Both Kerending camp 1 and Kerending camp 2 burned to ashes.
The statement further pointed out that Arab tribesmen attacked the camp at 10 pm on Sunday. They were wearing military uniforms, and riding in Landcruisers mounted with heavy weapons. The displaced demand the government authority to arrest the attackers and bringing them to justice.
According to the Arab Youth Committee, the cause of the violence was the killing of Arab herder Hamid Deidan. He was stabbed to death near Kerending camp on Sunday. Seven other herders were wounded during an attack when they came to take the body of the victim with them.
A source told Radio Dabanga from El Geneina that relatives of the dead man gathered on Monday morning in front of the secretariat of the West Darfur government demanding the handing over of the perpetrators to them within 24 hours.
The Resistance Committees of the districts in El Geneina condemned the incident which they described as “a setback that undermines the goals of the revolution: Freedom, Peace, and Justice".
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance announced the suspension of the peace negotiations on the Darfur track after the incident in El Geneina.
In a statement yesterday, the SRF said they hold the government in Khartoum responsible, and demand that it “fulfils its full duty to protect unarmed civilians and provide security”.
The armed movements will not resume the peace talks unless the authorities properly investigate the crimes committed, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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