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Sudan: More than 100 killed in two-day conflict | Conflict News

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At least 150 people have been killed in two-day clashes in recent ethnic clashes over land disputes in southern Sudan’s Blue Nile state.

The bloodshed was the worst in months, and crowds poured into the streets of Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile state, to protest on Thursday, chanting slogans denouncing a conflict that has left hundreds dead this year.

“A total of 150 people were killed, including women, children and the elderly, between Wednesday and Thursday,” said Abbas Moussa, head of Wad al-Mahi hospital. About 86 people were injured in the violence,” he said.

Clashes in the Blue Nile erupted last week after disputes over land between members of the Hausa people and rival factions reported that hundreds of people fled from intense gunfire and houses burst into flames.
The fighting centered around the Wad al-Mahi area near Roseires, 500 km (310 mi) south of the capital Khartoum.

Hundreds marched in Damazin on Thursday, and some demanded the dismissal of the state’s governor. The demonstrators chanted “No, no to violence”.

Eddie Rowe, the United Nations aid chief for Sudan, said he was “deeply concerned” by the ongoing conflict, reporting “170 unconfirmed deaths and 327 injuries” since the last unrest began on 13 October.

Blue Nile shaken by ethnic violence

Tribal conflicts that broke out in July killed 149 people in early October. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 13 more people died in renewed fighting last week.

The July war involved the Hausa, a tribe of West African origin, and the Berta people, following a territorial dispute. On Thursday, a group representing Hausa said they had been attacked by heavily armed individuals in the past two days, but did not blame any particular tribe or group for the attack.

A Hausa issued a statement calling for de-escalation and an end to “genocide and ethnic cleansing in Hausa.” The tribe has long been marginalized within Sudanese society, and the violence in July sparked a series of Hausa protests across the country.

The Blue Nile is home to dozens of different ethnic groups, and there is hate speech and racism that often fuels decades-old tribal tensions.

OCHA did not confirm the recent increase in deaths, but said the violence had displaced at least 1,200 people since last week.

Later on Thursday, a pro-democracy group in Sudan known as the Resistance Committees accused the country’s military rulers of failing to protect ethnic groups due to a lack of security in the Blue Nile.

OCHA also said 19 people were killed and dozens injured in tribal conflicts that erupted last week in the nearby West Kordofan province. Armed conflict broke out between the Misseriya and Nuba ethnic groups over a land dispute near the town of Al Lagowa.

OCHA said that the governor of West Kordofan province visited the town on Tuesday to talk to residents in a bid to reduce the conflict before it came under artillery fire from a nearby mountain range.

“Fighting in the West Kordofan and Blue Nile states risks further displacement and human suffering,” OCHA said. “There is also a risk of escalation and spread of war with additional humanitarian consequences.”

On Wednesday, the Sudanese military accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, an insurgent group operating in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, of being behind the attack on Al Lagowa. The rebel group did not respond to the accusation.

OCHA added that violence in West Kordofan had caused about 36,500 people to flee from Al Lagowa, with most of those remaining taking refuge in the town’s army base. The agency said the area is currently inaccessible for humanitarian aid.

Eisa El Dakar, a local journalist from West Kordofan, told the AP last week that the conflict here is partly due to the two ethnic groups’ conflicting claims to local land, with Misseriya being predominantly a livestock community and Nuba being mostly farmers.

Kordofan and most of the other regions in South Sudan have been rocked by chaos and conflict over the past decade.

Sudan has been plunged into turmoil since a coup d’etat last October that upset the country’s short-lived democratic transition after three decades of Omar al-Bashir’s rule. He was overthrown in a popular uprising in April 2019, paving the way for a civil-military power-sharing government.

Many analysts see the escalating violence as a product of the power vacuum in the region from last October’s military coup. The violence also further threatened Sudan’s already struggling economy, compounded in part by fuel shortages caused by the war in Ukraine.