More than 15 000 people displaced in new Darfur violence, UN says

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Sudanese security forces.
Sudanese security forces.

Renewed tribal violence in the western Sudanese city of El Geneina over the past week has displaced more than 15 000 people, the United Nations said.

The war-weary Darfur region has seen an increase in violence recently, humanitarian groups say, which analysts link to a peace deal signed in October 2020 that has led to some groups to jostle for power while not adequately addressing security concerns.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a personal dispute in the village of Adikong between two men from the Masalit tribe and an unspecified Arab nomadic group sparked the conflict.

Armed nomads attacked the local market, set fire to part of the village, and killed nine people including two children, it said.

The fighting, which spilled over into other villages, caused 11 100 people to be displaced within the El Geneina locality, and an estimated 4 500 others to flee across the border to Chad.

A joint security force was dispatched to the area, the UN statement said.

El Geneina and the surrounding area saw several incidents of violence in 2021, and more than half of residents are in need of humanitarian aid according to UN estimates.

The early-2000s conflict in Darfur between rebel groups on one side and government forces and allied militias on the other caused an estimated 300 000 deaths. About 2.5 million people live in displacement camps across Darfur, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Darfur residents complain that the militias continue to carry out attacks on villages and camps.

Some 430 000 people have been displaced in 2021, a four-fold increase over 2020, aid groups say.

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