August 18, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Over twenty people from the Maalia tribe have been abducted on Saturday by tribal Rezeigat militiamen in East Darfur state compromising efforts to end the conflict peacefully and hold a reconciliation conference between the two ethnic groups.
Hundreds were killed when clashes erupted, a week ago, between the two pastoralist groups over control of Kilaikil located north of the state capital, El Daein. The Rezeigat are accused of seeking to take the control of a land inhabited by the Maalia.
Rezeigat militiamen captured some 42 Maalia people, five kilometres outside El Daein, and a Rezeigat stronghold, a tribal source who preferred anonymity confirmed in statements to Sudan Tribune, adding that the abducted civilians were heading to Abu Karinka , a Maalia centre.
The civilians were escorted by a police force but the militiamen, riding three vehicles, neutralised and disarmed them, he further said.
The commissioner of Abu Karinka , Osman Gassim, also confirmed the kidnapping, pointing out that the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) have successfully moved over 300 Maalia from El Daein to Abu Karinka .
Gassim, further demanded to release the abductees in order to create a conducive environment to stop violence and hostilities between the two tribes.
Mohamed Al safi, leader (Nazir) of Maalia tribe said they suspend ongoing effort to hold a reconciliation conference with the Rezeigat until the release of 42 people he said abducted on Sunday.
On the other hand, East Darfur authorities said they launched a search operation to secure the release of the abductees.
North Darfur governor, Osman Kibir, announced last Wednesday an initiative to hold a reconciliation conference to stop the fighting between the two Arab tribes which spread to his state. East Darfur governor Abdel Hamid Kasha who is himself a Rezeigat is accused of impartiality.
Kibir’s initiative came after statements by Rezeigat’s dignitaries including governor Kasha and leading Rezeigat figure Abdallah Masar saying that the attacks had been carried out against SLM- Minnawi fighters not the Maalia tribe.
Observers say kibir’s initiative meant to deny the presence of rebels in the Maalia centres including in North Darfur.