Local medics say at least 54 people were wounded in tribal clashes in the Sudanese city of El Geneina, the latest violence since the signing of a peace agreement late last year and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers.
At least 18 people have been killed and 54 wounded in tribal clashes in the Sudanese city of El Geneina, medics said on Monday, in a renewal of bloodshed following a major flare-up of violence earlier this year.
The incident is the latest in the troubled region since the signing of a peace agreement late last year and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers.
“The committee recorded 18 fatalities and 54 wounded, who are receiving medical care at El Geneina Teaching Hospital,” the West Darfur Doctors’ Committee said in a statement, citing clashes on Saturday and Sunday.
The committee, part of a nationwide independent body formed in 2016 representing the medical community, said an ambulance carrying wounded victims was attacked in the melee.
In January, at least 129 people were killed and military reinforcements were brought into El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. However, local sources say they have since largely withdrawn.
The most recent clashes between the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the Masalit tribe followed the deaths of two people from the Masalit, said Salah Saleh, a physician and former medical director at the city’s main hospital.
The circumstances of their deaths were not immediately known, he said, adding that the violence then extended to other neighbourhoods of the city.
Residents of the city and an internal UN security bulletin seen by Reuters news agency report the use of heavy weaponry and rocket-propelled grenades, with pictures and videos from residents showing plumes of smoke rising from the city’s neighbourhoods.
“On Monday, we woke up to the sound of gunfire … clashes are still ongoing and have spread to the western suburbs of the town,” Abdelrahman Ahmed, a witness, told AFP news agency.
The transitional government made no immediate comment on the violence.
In October, the government signed a peace agreement with some of the rebel groups that had fought against former President Omar al-Bashir.
However, attacks by members of Arab tribes al-Bashir had armed to fight the rebels have been escalating, and tribal clashes have increased in the heavily armed region.
International peacekeepers began withdrawing at the start of the year, and the Sudanese government said a new joint peacekeeping force mandated under the agreement would be able to protect civilians. But many in Darfur say they feel less safe.