Eight killed in fighting in Sudan’s Darfur: aid group

FILE PHOTO: A protester holds a placard during a rally calling for a stop to killing in Darfur and stability for peace, next to a building in front of Ministry of Justice in Khartoum, Sudan September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Eight people have been killed in fighting in Sudan’s western Darfur region between groups of Arab Rizeigat and the Fur people, an aid group said Thursday.

Shooting broke out late Wednesday in Zalingei, the state capital of Central Darfur, after a Fur member was killed, sparking wider fighting, witnesses said.

Rizeigat gunmen on motorbikes then stormed a camp for displaced people in the city attacking Fur residents, said Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, a Sudanese independent aid group.

“The clashes have left eight people killed and 11 wounded,” said Regal.

Fighting raged overnight until Thursday morning in the city, 1,020 kilometers (635 miles) west of the capital Khartoum.

Ethnic clashes regularly erupt in Darfur, a troubled arid region awash with automatic weapons and still reeling from the bitter civil war that erupted in 2003.

That conflict pitted ethnic minority rebels against the Arab-dominated government of then-president Omar al-Bashir.

Some 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.

While the conflict has subsided over the years, violence still flares between nomadic herders and settled farmers over shrinking access to scarce water and grazing land.

On Saturday, at least 11 people were reported killed following deadly clashes in South Darfur state. It was not clear what started that fighting.

The latest bouts of violence come as Sudan grapples with the crippling aftermath of a military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in October last year.

Civilian groups signed a preliminary deal with the military to end the crisis earlier this month but it has been criticized as “opaque”.

Conflicts in Sudan’s far-flung regions have killed around 900 people this year and driven almost 300,000 from their homes, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.