Many deaths in East Darfur tribal fighting, more expected

More than a hundred deaths in the Rizeigat-Ma’aliya battle Monday, multiple sources in East Darfur say. Fighting has currently stopped, but according to witnesses, not for long. “It feels like there is a weather for war erupting.”

More than a hundred deaths were claimed in the battle between Rizeigat and Ma'aliya tribesmen today and yesterday, said multiple sources in East Darfur. While fighting has currently stopped, witnesses predict another escalation at any moment, as fighters continue to gather in crowds, and the state capital gears up for violent events.

The head of the local youths in Adila, Abu Karinka and Kilkil reported to Radio Dabanga that 84 Ma'aliya members were killed in an attack by the Rizeigat on Abu Karinka town on Monday. Among them are eighteen children, women and elderly persons, he claimed.

“They burned to death inside their homes after Rizeigat fired missiles with 'Katyusha' rocket launchers on the northern parts of the town,” El Azrag Hassan Himeda explained. “The explosion fully burned 22 houses while affecting ten others partially.”

Himeda claimed that the number of injured Ma'aliya in this attack has amounted to 60 in total. They have been taken to hospitals in Abu Karinka and Adila. They lack medical care, however, “which doubles the suffering of the wounded”.

Describing the humanitarian situation as “very bad, especially among women and children”, Himeda stressed that they need aid from organisations right away.

Fighting has stopped

The head of youth claimed that any interventions from the government's side were completely absent until yesterday (Monday). “Fighting has stopped for now,” he said on Tuesday. “But it feels like there is a weather for a war erupting.”

“The hospitals lack medical care… There is a need for immediate aid from organisations.”

The commissioner of Ed Daein, the capital of East Darfur, confirmed that fighting has stopped completely after the reinforcements by the central government arrived, along with an intervention by the Sudanese Air Force. The reinforcements received resolute orders to open fire on “criminals trying to drag the two parties back into fighting”. 

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Mahdi Hamuda today claimed that there are more than twenty dead among the Rizeigat, and between 20-30 injured. Eleven are in critical conditions. 

An inventory of the casualties from sources in Ed Daein stated that 74 Rizeigat members were killed during the battle in Abu Karinka. 32 were wounded, and about 42 missing, they told the radio station.

A witness in the town mentioned that the gathering of tribal fighters continued on both sides on Tuesday, allegedly preparing for more battles, to ignite at any time. The deployment of government troops to separate the tribes and prevent renewed clashes has not shown useful, he said.

Ed Daein facilities guarded

Others reported that shops and government institutions remained closed on Tuesday. Commissioner Hamuda denied these reports, saying that the market and institutions are still open. However, there is a large presence of policemen that guard the market, banks, government facilities and civil service offices such as telecommunications.

Hamuda said that life returned to normal on Tuesday in Ed Daein. A high-level delegation will arrive on Wednesday, he added, to discuss the tribal clashes and find radical solutions for the problems. Ministers and representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Security are attending the delegation.

Journalists protest in Khartoum

In related events, journalists in Khartoum carried out a protest in front of the presidential palace on Tuesday. They demanded President Omar Al Bashir to intervene and stop the bloodshed between the warring tribes.

Luay Abdelrahman, from the journalists' initiative against tribal violence, appealed through the radio station to the Rizeigat and Ma'aliya tribal leaders to defuse their crisis and return to peace.

The journalists also gathered to mourn for the relatives of their colleagues who were killed during the battle in Abu Karinka on Monday. El Tayyar journalist Abdallah Ishag lost two of his brothers, one of them being Ali Fadel Mawla, a journalist for Awal En Nahar. Mohamed Hamdan wrote for Al Sudani newspaper.