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Rizeigat gunmen seize cargo train in East Darfur

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October 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Gunmen belonging to Rizeigat tribe have seized a freight train in East Darfur capital El Daein following rumours it was loaded with weapons and ammunition destined for the rival Ma’alia tribe in Adila locality.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune late on Thursday night that the regular forces allowed the gunmen to search the train but no weapons were found, saying the train was carrying animals feed.

According to the witnesses, the train remained held for more than 11 hours before it was allowed to move at 5.00pm (local time).

Meanwhile, the same gunmen looted the commercial markets in the outskirts of El Daein leading to the closure of shops and panic among residents in the area.

Fierce clashes also erupted on Thursday evening between armed groups from Rizeigat and Ma’alia tribes in Shabbab area, 30 km north west of El Daein following theft of camels belonging to Ma’alia in an ambush by the Rizeigat.

Sources in the area told Sudan Tribune that the stolen camels were retrieved, saying the number of casualties was not determined because clashes are not over yet.

Last August, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that 200 Ma’alya and 123 Rizeigat tribesmen were killed in clashes which took place in the Umm Rakubah area in East Darfur’ Abu Karinka locality.

Clashes between the two tribes intensified in recent years following oil discovery in Ma’alia areas. But the tribal fighting is also related to disputes over pasturage and water sources.

Last September, eight Ma’alia officials in the government of East Darfur state and twelve members of state legislative assembly resigned from their positions to protest the continuous attacks by Rizeigat gunmen without prompt action from the state and national governments to stop it.

The Ma’alia represent 40% of East Darfur population and control 45% of its superficies. The centre of Rizeigat territory is the state capital El Daein town, while the Ma’alia centre is in Adila, which borders North Darfur and South Kordofan states.

Sudanese government launched several reconciliation conferences to end the conflict between the two pastoral tribes. Last July, the vice president attempted to mediate between the two parties but the Ma’alia rejected his efforts because he belongs to the Rizeigat.

The Ma’alia accuse the government of supporting their foes because many of them are involved in the paramilitary forces known as Janjaweed militias used to fight rebel groups. But Khartoum and the tribal leaders deny the charges saying the attacks are carried by uncontrolled gunmen.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 11 October 2014 11:37, by ForAll

    Darfur MUST BECOME one REGION and one STATE and then many "MUHAFAZATS" for the sake of unity and restoring of "EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS" for all Darfurian citizens.

    The "Divide & Rule" and "The Divide & Conquer" must be stopped and buried for ever.

    We were one big United Family and we need to return to that bright history of the great Darfur.

    repondre message

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