August 15, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed concern over the rising casualties from recent clashes between the Rezeigat and Maalia tribes in East Darfur, as the governor conceded the state was not in control of the situation.
Hundreds have been killed and injured in and around the El Daein and Adila areas, amid worsening tribal tensions in the region. However the official SUNA said on Thursday that the two parties agreed to cease hostilities, ahead of reconciliation conference.
The joint special Representative and head of UNAMID, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, called on the parties involved the resolve their differences peacefully.
“The violence must stop for the sake of everyone caught in this terrible ordeal. Fighting is not the answer and I urge all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue,” said Chambas, who on
Wednesday met with the chairperson of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), Tijani El-Sissi, to discuss the ongoing situation.
In a press statement issued on Wednesday, governor Abdel Hamid Musa Kasha said the state is not able to control the situation or disperse the fighting and demanded that the military step in to restore security.
“Primary and secondary schools are closed and all employees of the Maalia tribe were evacuated from Ed Daein to preserve their lives,” Kasha said in the statement.
Tensions between the Rezeigat and Maalia were reportedly triggered earlier this month by unresolved disputes related to land resources and cattle theft, sparking a series of retaliatory attacks.
The security situation in the area has continued to deteriorate over the past week, as clashes broke out leading to an increase in criminality and forcing many civilians to flee their homes.
The governor, who is a Rezeigat, escaped an assassination attempt on Monday after gunmen affiliated with the Maalia tribe attacked him while he was attending a security meeting at the Adila locality headquarters.
It is believed the youth responsible were seeking to avenge the killings in tribal clashes over the past week. The Maalia have accused Kasha of committing ethnic cleansing against them, saying the East
Darfur government continues to supply the Rizeigat with government-issue vehicles and weapons.
Meanwhile, the Rizeigat claim that the Maalia are being supported by the Minni Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-MM) and that its forces are fighting on the Maalia side. But the rebels denied such allegations.
UNAMID says it has increased its patrols in the area in response to rising instability.
Officials from the DRA have also been transported to the locality to support a cessation of hostilities and senior personnel deployed to provide technical advice in the mediation process.
In connection with the unrest, a UNAMID patrol was attacked on 12 August by a mob in El Daein town. The patrol was able to extract itself and return safely to the mission’s base.
UNAMID says it is continuing to support government-led mediation efforts to defuse tensions and restore stability.
According to the latest update from the UK-based Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO UK), fighting erupted between the two groups on Saturday after a large number of Rizeigat attacked the Maalia at Abga’ab, 10kms north of Megailid. It’s estimated that some 50 members of the Rizeigat and 20 from the Maalia were killed during the clashes, while dozens more from both sides were injured.
The violence continued over the following days, with militia torching several villages in the area.
Tribal fighting usually related to land ownership has become the major source of insecurity in Darfur since the beginning of the year, forcing more than 300,000 people to flee their homes.