On Wednesday, leaders of the Gimir tribe and a number of Arab tribes signed a final reconciliation agreement with the West Darfur government in El Geneina to end the conflicts witnessed in the area of Kulbus, which claimed the lives of more than 125 people and wounded dozens.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Deputy-Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the infamous Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the governor of West Darfur, and military, security, and tribal leaders.
According to the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) Hemeti addressed the signing ceremony and said that this is the fifth peace agreement to be signed in West Darfur. He described it as the best document so far and said that this is the last real signing and reconciliation between the tribes. "With this, we have covered all the tribal problems in the state”, he said.
'With this, we have covered all the tribal problems in the state' – Hemeti
Earlier in June, the Rizeigat and Misseriya tribes signed a reconciliation document with Hemeti in El Geneina and one week later the Masalit signed a reconciliation document with Arab herding tribes in the same town.
Hemeti stressed the importance of identifying those who release statements and rumours to thwart these reconciliations. He wants to ‘confront them with the law’ and identify ‘those who stir up conflicts between communities and their supporters’.
He emphasised the need “to resolve all hotbeds of strife and negative phenomena, and to address all problems with wisdom and dialogue”.
Hemeti also noted the importance of coordination between civil administration leaders and security forces “to clean all crime dens by arresting criminals and implementing the Rule of Law” in order to achieve security, peace, and stability in West Darfur.
This peace and stability are needed to prepare the environment for the return of banks and other institutions, Hemeti explained, and for microfinance projects and investments in the state so that the people can benefit from financing in the fields of agriculture and others.
Strong RSF presence
Hemeti announced intensive security campaigns in the region. He, for example, directed the armed forces to punish anyone who carries a weapon and threatens the security and safety of the people.
He also explained that the coming days will witness the arrival of motorcycle forces to chase criminals, the use of specialised forces to combat crime, and a decision to impose emergency law in the state if necessary.
He affirmed that, therefore, ‘there will be no going back’ on the implementation of these reconciliations.
'There will be no going back' – Hemeti
The governor of West Darfur, Khamis Abdallah Abkar, called on all signatories to abide by the document and expressed his regret over the conflicts that occurred in the state.
The two signatories to the final peace document, the Gimir and the Arab herding tribes, affirmed their full commitment to implement the provisions of the ‘comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement’ and to not to return to war again. The agreement also includes sections on the re-opening of roads, markets, trays, water tanks, and the management of water sources and the protection of the agricultural season.
The representatives of the two parties also affirmed that they signed this reconciliation of their own free will and that both tribes are keen for life to return to normal. They stated that blood must be spared and that this reconciliation should be the last peace agreement in the state.
On 6 June, clashes erupted between the Gimir and Rizeigat communities in Kulbus locality, West Darfur, in which estimated 50,000 people were reportedly displaced in both West and bordering North Darfur and at least 125 people were killed, mostly from the Gimir tribe.
The conflict erupted following a dispute over land ownership between a Gimir man, a non-Arab African tribe, and a Rizeigat man, an Arab herding tribe.
Darfur has a long history of strife between Arab herding tribes and non-Arab African herders or sedentary farmers. Arab tribesmen were recruited by the previous regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir to join the Janjaweed militias. Al Bashir employed these Arab militias to repress a revolt over ethnic marginalisation in the region, mainly targeting non-Arab African farmers. During the war that followed, at least 300,000 people were killed and over 2.5 million were displaced according to the UN.