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Twenty people killed in fresh tribal clashes in East Darfur

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April 1, 2015 (NYALA) – Twenty people were killed and several others injured on Wednesday in renewed clashes between Ma’alia and Rizeigat tribes in East Darfur state.

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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)

Zakaria Suleiman, Ma’alia traditional administration official, told Sudan Tribune that armed tribesmen clashed in Sabah Al-Ni’ma area in the locality of Abu Karinka leading to the death of 16 Rizeigat and 4 Ma’alia.

He said fighting erupted following theft of 500 cattle heads belonging to Rezeigat and warned that the two tribes are mobilizing their men for further clashes.

Suleiman pointed to the limited capacity of government troops tasked with separating the two tribes, saying the conflicting parties’ weapons outnumber that of the government troops which have 10 military vehicles only.

He added that Rezeigat armed men looted 600 sheep belonging to Ma’alia in Dar al-Salam area last week, saying that government troops vowed to return the stolen sheep within five days but failed to fulfill its pledge.

Rezeigat chief, Mohamed al-Hag Marano, for his part told Sudan Tribune that clashes took place following an ambush by Ma’alia against his tribesmen, demanding that the two sides end the fighting and abide by the outcome of the recent reconciliation conference.

Tribal fighting has intensified in four of Darfur’s five states during the past two years leading to thousands of deaths and injuries and forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes. They are usually triggered by land disputes, pasture rights and fighting over water resources. More than 7,000 people were killed in those clashes since 2007.

The conflict between the Rezeigat and the Ma’alia tribes in East Darfur state is considered one of the longest and most deadly in the region.

Both the Rezeigat and the Ma’alia are pastoralist tribes, based in East Darfur. The centre of Rezeigat territory is in El Daein town, while the Ma’alia centre is in Adila, the second largest town after El-Daein.

Last August, 200 Ma’alia and 123 Rezeigat tribesmen were killed in clashes which took place in the Umm Rakubah area in East Darfur’ Abu Karinka locality.

Armed clashes between the two tribes in 2013 killed over 149 people and forced an estimated 51,000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter in Adila, Abu Karinka and Ed-Daein localities.

Last month, the reconciliation conference between the tribes, which was held under the auspices of Sudan’s 1st VP, Bakri Hassan Salih in the locality of Merowe in the Northern state, stalled over the right of land ownership known as Hakura (traditional land grant).

(ST)

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