Unamid and the National Umma Party have expressed their concerns about the fierce clashes between Rizeigat and Habaniya tribesmen in El Sunta locality, South Darfur, on Tuesday. The governor of South Darfur has dismissed the commissioner of El Sunta. Government troops have been sent to the area to contain the situation.
In a press release today, the joint UN-AU Mission in Darfur “strongly urges the leaders and members of both tribes to exercise maximum restraint, engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve their disputes, and refrain from all acts that would lead to further intensification of violence, loss of life, and potential displacement of innocent people”.
Unamid states that it is closely monitoring the situation, and that it continues, “within its capability and mandate”, to protect the affected civilians, and facilitate and support all efforts by all key stakeholders to de-escalate the tensions and achieve reconciliation between the warring tribes.
At least 170 people were killed in tribal clashes that erupted on Tuesday in El Sunta, 150 kilometres southeast of South Darfur capital of Nyala.
The fighting was triggered by a cattle rustling incident, in which six tribesmen died. Both tribes responded by mobilised their fighters, and 130 Rizeigat and 40 Habaniya were reportedly killed in an attack by Rizeigat on the Habaniya village of Abyad Tabaldiya and surrounding villages.
Sources told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that government forces were nowhere to be seen, “just as the local authorities and representatives of the native administration were absent”.
The governor of South Darfur, Adam El Faki, has dismissed the commissioner of Sunta locality. Col. Ali Mohamed Suleiman Abu Diraa,was reportedly in Nyala when the clashes broke out, and could not be reached because his mobile telephone was closed.
Secretary of the native administration in South Darfur, Ahmed El Ghali, told reporters that the village of Abyad Tabaldiya and neighbouring villages were entirely destroyed by fire. He warned the Rizeigat and Habaniya not to engage in renewed fighting, and confirmed the arrival of government troops to the area to contain the situation.
Next of kin
The National Umma Party also appealed to the warring tribesmen to “immediately halt the hostilities”. Ammar Jibril Hamed Umbadda, NUP secretary-general of Buram locality, neighbouring El Sunta, called through Radio Dabanga on the parties to let the ending of the Ramadan fasting month coincide with peace and reconciliation.
He urged the Rizeigat and Habaniya to “listen to the voice of reason, overcome differences, and put aside bitterness”, as “they are next of kin and neighbours”.
Umbadda expressed his hope that “the Eid El Fitr, starting tomorrow, will bring peace, security, and stability in Darfur, and the entire Sudan”.