July 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government is stepping up its efforts to meet pledges made by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to end tribal conflicts in the country by the end of the year.
- Maalia and Rezeigat delegations arrive at Al-Tawisha in North Darfur before the signing of a cessation of hostilities deal on 22 August 2013 (Photo: Hamid Abdulsalam/UNAMID)
A reconciliation conference between Hamar and Ma’alia tribes will be held on July 23 in Al Foula town in West Kordofan state. The presidency also called for making arrangements to hold a similar conference between Ma’alia and Rizeigat tribes on August 10.
Tribal fighting has intensified during the last two years in Darfur and Kordofan regions in western Sudan leading to thousands of dead and injured and forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes.
Intermittent clashes have been going on between Hamar tribe which dwells in West Kordofan state and Ma’alia tribe which inhabits in East Darfur. The fighting was triggered by land dispute between the two tribes.
The governor of West Kordofan state, Ahmed Khamees, acknowledged in 2013 that clashes between the two tribes erupted following discovery of oil in the region.
The head of the parliamentary follow-up committee on reconciliation, Salim al-Safi Higair, said the meeting is scheduled for July 23 and will continue for four days, stressing that Hamar chief, Abdel-Gadir Muni’m Mansur, and Ma’alia chief, Mohahed Ahmed Al-Safi, agreed to hold the conference.
He pointed in press statements on Tuesday that the government of West Kordofan state started making arrangements for holding the reconciliation conference.
Higair noted his committee is coordinating between the state government and traditional administration, saying they will travel to Al Foula next Sunday to meet both sides to arrange for the conference.
He disclosed ongoing arrangements for the participation of the Sudanese parliament speaker, al-Fatih Izz al-Din, in the conference, acknowledging that security problem could not be resolved overnight.
“We want a lasting solution for the problem in order to spare the region from outlaws”, he added.
Last week, the Hamar and Ma’alia tribes signed an agreement in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum aimed at ending the bloody fighting which has been continuing for two years between them.
Earlier this month, authorities in West Kordofan and East Darfur states have ordered deployment of joint military troops to secure the dividing line between areas of Hamar and Ma’alia tribes following renewed fighting between the two ethnic groups which claimed lives of 75 people.
Last May, 28 people were killed in battles between the two tribes in East Darfur and West Kordofan according to tribal leaders at the time.
The United Nations confirmed that 38 people were killed last December in West Kordofan as a result of clashes between the two groups because of a dispute over the right to pasture.
RIZEIGAT AND MA’ALIA … THE OLDEST CONFLICT
The Sudanese first vice-president, Bakri Hassan Salih, has directed perfecting arrangements of reconciliation conflict between Ma’alia and Rizeigat tribes which is scheduled for August 10 in East Darfur state.
Salih, who met with the governor of East Darfur state, al-Tayeb Abdel-Karim, called for implementing recommendations of reconciliation conferences in order to achieve peace and security.
Earlier this month, renewed clashes between the two tribes led to the death of 31 people and 30 injured. Fighting between the two Arab tribes led to the killing of more than 500 people last year.
Both the Rizeigat and the Ma’alia are pastoralist tribes, based in East Darfur. The centre of Rizeigat territory is in Ed Daein town, the capital of East Darfur, while the Maalia centre is in Adila, the second largest town after Ed Daein.
Clashes between the two tribes tribal generally erupt over land ownership.
Meanwhile, Awlad Omran and al-Zyoud clans of the Misseriya tribe have reached a truce following recent clashes which led to the death of more than 44 people.
The head of the reconciliation and peaceful coexistence mechanism in West Kordofan state, Mohamed Jaber, said the joint committee of the traditional administration reached an agreement to stop armed fighting until holding the reconciliation conference.
The government-sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) pointed the committee made efforts over the past ten days leading to agreement of the parties to accept truce.
It stressed the state’s keenness to achieve reconciliation among conflicting tribes, underscoring the need to resolve the conflicts in order to focus on development and reconstruction.
CRIMES AND LOOTING IN SOUTH DARFUR
The governor of South Darfur state, Adam Mahmoud Jar Al-Nabi, on Tuesday has declared an indefinite emergency situation in South Darfur state including a curfew from 7 pm to 7 am in the capital Nyala.
The decision also included banning riding of motorcycles by more than one person, banning holding weapons while wearing civilian clothes, banning of vehicles driving around without license plates, and banning wearing Kadamool [turban which covers the face].
It also banned driving of shaded cars in Nyala even for government officials unless permission is being obtained from the traffic police. The decision further prevented firing of gunshots in social events in Nyala.
After the tribal clashes of last year, Darfur now is the scene of attacks by militiamen, armed banditry and criminal activities which became a major source of instability during the recent months.
The head of Darfur joint peacekeeping mission, Mohamed Ibn Shambas, last week told the Peace and Security Council of the African Union that “the proliferation of militia groups and attendant criminality and banditry” continues to be a source of concern.
Armed gangs, regularly carry out attacks on businessmen and commercial convoys in South Darfur which known by the criminal activities of these bandits.
Last week, unidentified gunmen killed the commissioner of Katila county in South Darfur, Abdallah Yassin, who was returning to his county from the state capital Nyala.
Robbers last week also stormed a mall in Nyala and stole a large sum of money before escaping on a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The commissioner of Nyala North, Al-Hadi Issa, said in a press conference on Tuesday that crime became unbearable; pointing that security authorities would not tolerate presence of thieves inside the town.
He said that wearing of Kadamool is a new phenomenon in South Darfur, underscoring determination to carry out the governor’s decisions immediately.
The commissioner of Nyala locality, Abdel-Rahman Hussein Gardod, for his part, stressed government ability to implement the decisions, saying they are currently working towards promoting police services.
He disclosed that they would set up a special tribunal for crimes of violating emergency laws, promising to supply residents with phone numbers to contact authorities to report crimes and violations.
The deputy governor of South Darfur, Mahdi Bosch, told the SMC that authorities obtained precise information regarding the kidnapping of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) official, stressing he will be released soon.
Meanwhile, the first vice president discussed with the governor of Central Darfur state, Ga’afar Abdel-Hakam, on Tuesday the possibility for increasing the number of localities of Jebel Merra in order to broaden participation and strengthen political administration to achieve security and stability.
Abdel-Hakam told reporters following the meeting that he affirmed to the vice president that security problems which took place at Um Dukhun locality recently have been overcome, saying he briefed him on the procedures being made in this regard and solutions provided by the security committee.
Dozens of people were killed last month in renewed clashes between Salamat and Misseriya tribes at Um Dukhun county near the Chadian border.
According to government reports, more than 1000 people were killed and over 500 wounded in a series of attacks and revenge attacks between the two Arab tribes over cattle theft .
The clashes also displaced thousands of people who fled into Chad, the state capital Zalingei, and the capital of South Darfur, Nyala.
Tribal clashes are now seen as the first source of violence in the western Sudan region and displaced thousands of civilians in Darfur five states.