Tension between East Darfur tribes ‘about to explode’

Fighters of the Rizeigat and Ma’aliya tribes are gathering in large crowds in East Darfur. The state deploys a number of troops to the areas to contain the explosive situation.

Fighters belonging to the Rizeigat and Ma'aliya tribes are gathering in large crowds in East Darfur, according to eyewitness reports. It is expected that clashes between the tribal fighters could erupt at any moment. The state therefore deployed a number of troops to the areas to contain the situation.

The Rizeigat tribesmen are gathering in two areas in El Ferdous locality: El Jalabi and Donki El Fadul, an eyewitness reported to Radio Dabanga. Large crowds of Ma'aliya fighters are spotted in Adila and Abu Karinka localities.

“The first gathering started four days ago,” the witness said on Friday. He expects the tribes to clash soon, allegedly resulting in many casualties.

The Governor of East Darfur, Col. El Tayeb Abdelkarim Ahmed, admitted to the radio station that large crowds of tribesmen are present in the state. “We have taken measures to prevent fighting between the two sides. These include the deployment of a number of troops to the border strip between El Ferdous [where the Rizeigat have gathered] and Adila and Abu Karinka [where most Ma'aliya reside].”

Abdelkarim Ahmed added that the central government of Sudan has sent a security committee to the state capital, Ed Daein, to hold a meeting with the East Darfur authorities. “We discussed the situation for hours. By the end of the meeting, we decided on a package of military and politically decisions to defuse the crisis.”

The governor did not disclose these decisions to Radio Dabanga. “It is enough to contain the crisis.”

He claimed that contacts are under way with the leaders and elders of the Rizeigat and Ma'aliya tribes, to disperse the crowds.

At least 16 people were killed and injured in renewed clashes between Rizeigat and Ma’aliya tribesmen in Abu Karinka locality on 29 April, against the backdrop of mutual livestock rustling.

Since then, the state of East Darfur has demanded the return of military equipment that gunmen seized from the Central Reserve Police in Abu Karinka. The paramilitary Central Reserve Police, known as “Abu Tira”, has enlisted many Rizeigat among its troops.