New outbreak of tribal violence in Darfur leaves more than 200 dead in five days

The Sudanese Medical Committee has raised the number of people injured in the latest outbreak of inter-ethnic violence in the Sudanese region to 220

AP/ABD RAOUF  -   Government troop convoy in the village of Tabit in the North Darfur region of Sudan

The outbreak of tribal violence that began last Friday in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region has left more than 200 people dead and more than a hundred injured, in what is already one of the bloodiest clashes in recent years in the area, officials said today. 

"According to official figures, the violent clashes in the town of Kreinik have killed 201 people and injured more than 100, and destroyed several government facilities," the governor of West Darfur state, Khamis Abdullah, told local media on Wednesday. 

The governor said that "the government sent an army brigade supported by tanks to protect the area, stop the violence and prevent further attacks, ensuring that calm returned to Kreinik after the deployment of military forces with heavy weapons". 

For its part, the Sudanese Doctors Committee raised the number of wounded to 220 and added that they had to "transfer critical cases to other states" because of the "limited availability of hospitals in the city of Geneina", the capital of West Darfur, according to a statement posted on its official Facebook account. According to the Doctors' Committee, there are only two hospitals available in the city, one military and one private.

Darfur mapa
AFP/AFP  -   Location map of West Darfur

The violence broke out last Friday after two Arab herdsmen were killed by armed men from the African Masalit tribe, a security source in Darfur told Efe. Subsequently, gunmen from the Arab tribesmen attacked the African tribe and the clashes spread to the state capital. 

So far, tens of thousands of people have fled attacks and clashes in West Darfur, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). 

In recent months, insecurity has spread in at least three areas of West Darfur, as well as in the neighbouring states of North and South Darfur. Violence in Darfur threatens the upcoming harvest season and more than 18 million people are likely to face acute food insecurity by September across Sudan due to the combined effects of insecurity, economic crisis and poor harvests, according to NRC. 

Darfur, which experienced an ethnically tinged civil war between 2003 and 2008 with more than 300,000 people killed and 1.8 million displaced, is the scene of frequent tribal clashes.