A reconciliation conference between leaders of the Misseriya and Salamat tribes began today in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, amid hopes of bringing an end to tribal clashes that have left dozens dead on each side, displaced at least 50,000 people, and seen many homes torched and destroyed.
During opening ceremony, representatives of the two tribes reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process, which has been strained over the past few weeks by continued ‘violations’ by tribesmen.
The leader of the brokering team, East Darfur Governor Abdel Hamid Musa Kasha, told Radio Dabanga on Monday evening that the representatives of the two tribes insured that they are committed to peace, and say that “they are ready to cooperate to reach a peace and to stop the suffering of the displaced from both sides”.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that as result of the tribal battles in South and Central Darfur, 50,000 people sought refuge in Chad within a short period of time, terming it the “largest influx of refugees from Sudan into Chad since 2005”.
Kasha assured Radio Dabanga that the conference “will work day and night to stop the suffering, especially because the rainy season is approaching”.
Salamat leader, Brigadier (retired) Mohammed Bashir Musa sent a message to both tribes through Radio Dabanga: “We are starting the peace negotiations to solve the problems that prompted the clashes in the first place.”
Musa ensures that both sides entering into peace negotiations are “opening a new page of history, on which we will write ‘peace’ and ‘security’ to send a message to all the people that the war is over”.
“There is no reason fight any more,” said Musa. “Nobody on either side has any reason to attack anyone else, so we must respect the willingness of both sides to make peace between our two tribes. We intend to build good foundations in order to stop all clashes to allow all citizens of Darfur to live in peace.”