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Sudan’s justice ministry files charges over Darfur tribal clashes

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February 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese ministry of justice has recommended the trial of suspects in connection the clashes which took place between Rizeigat and Maalia tribes in East Darfur state last summer.

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A picture taken on May 29, 2013 shows the bodies of victims of tribal clashes between the Gimir and Beni Halba tribes in a village near Edd al-Fursan, about 100 kms southwest of the South Darfur state capital of Nyala. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

It announced that charges were filed against the suspects on counts of premeditated murder, serious harm, and destruction.

A commission of inquiry formed by the ministry, said that it questioned under oath the ex-governor of East Darfur state Abdel-Hamid Musa Kasha and the current acting governor besides the former governor of South Darfur state, al-Hag Atta al-Mannan.

The minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Dousa, who received the report of the panel on Tuesday, said the government will forcefully enforce legal proceedings in order to affirm state’s authority.

He stressed that blood of victims in the clashes between the two tribes will not go in vain, emphasizing that all necessary legal procedures will be conducted through competent prosecution in order to go after those implicated in the events.

Dousa pointed that government would resort to reconciliations in large and multilateral conflicts and asserted that the fundamental basis is to prosecute anyone who broke the law; saying reconciliations will be carried out in accordance with legal procedures.

He disclosed the ministry of justice undersecretary, Isam Eldeen Abdel-Gader, and the special prosecutor for Darfur crimes, Yasser Ahmed Mohamed, have visited Darfur over the last few days to assess the work of investigation committees in all tribal clashes, saying they will submit the committees’ report to the presidency.

The Sudanese official refused to determine numbers of those were charged in the events saying the dead or injured who were at the crime scene are accused of involvement in the events.

Meanwhile, the head of the investigation committee in the Maalia and Rezeigat clashes, al-Nur Babiker Morkazu, said they interrogated 39 people in the town of Adeela in East Darfur state last week besides previously quizzing the state’s security committee and some witnesses, pointing they covered all areas of events and determined all losses of lives and properties.

More than 100 people were killed last year when clashes between the Rezeigat and the Maalia tribes broke out in the Kilaikil area located north of East Darfur state capital, El Daein, which both groups claim as part of their territory. The Rezeigat are accused of seeking to take the control of a land inhabited by the Maalia.

Tribal fighting has become the major source of insecurity in Darfur since the beginning of last year, forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes.

Last June, Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, warned against tribal strife in some areas of the country, noting the country is facing challenges that need cooperation of all its people.

“The tribal conflicts in a number of Sudan’s areas constitute the biggest threat to the country," Bashir said when addressing a meeting of the Shura (consultative) Council of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Different officials in Darfur including the head of the regional authority, Tijani El-Sissi, also said that tribal violence is among the biggest threats to ongoing efforts to implement a peace document signed by two former rebel groups in the region.

(ST)

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