Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

14 January 2013

Sudan: Tribal Clashes Displace Over 100.000 Families to North Darfur Town

Photo: IRIN
Armed men in Darfur (file photo).

Al-Sref Beni Hussein — More than 100.000 displaced families have arrived in the capital of al-Sref Beni Hussein locality, North Darfur, following clashes between the Arab tribes of Abbala and Beni Hussein that began one week ago at the gold mining area of Jebel 'Amer.

According to the Sudan News Agency (SUNA), this amount does not include families displaced to other localities, such as Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra or those who are still wandering around.

Commissioner Haroun Hussein declared on Monday, 14 January, that a committee has been working continuously for the last three consecutive days to count the exact number of displaced.

The commissioner pointed out that some of them are living in schools, in government buildings, at the locality's headquarters, or in homes of residents of al-Sref Beni Hussein city.

However, he continued, many others are living under trees or completely out in the open, without any food or water.

Hussein pointed out their condition is getting more critical as the winter approaches and that help is need "now, not within days". The locality has nothing left to provide support to the displacement families, he added.

The commissioner appealed to all parties of the North Darfur government to immediately intervene and take charge of the situation.

At the same time, he noted that the president of the Darfur Regional Authority, Dr. Tijani Sese, visited al-Sref Beni Hussein on Sunday.

During his visit he announced the donation of 100 million Sudanese pounds to airlift aid items to the victims, Hussein revealed.

"Cattle basins"

A resident of al-Sref Beni Hussein city, Suleiman Hassan Bashir, told Radio Dabanga that the conditions of the displaced living in his town are "dire" as food is scare and their health is deteriorating.

He added the displaced are living on the streets, valleys and by creeks because schools and government institutions are full.

In addition, the scarcity of food and water began affecting the children as many are suffering of diarrhea, the source stressed. According to him, the displaced have begun drinking water from cattle basins and temperatures continue to drop.

All of these people fled their villages as they were set on fire, according to Bashir. He pointed out that besides al-Sref Beni Hussein city, every community in the vicinity was set ablaze.

"Inaccessible"

The citizen strongly denied that aid of any kind has arrived in the city, be it from the government, from organizations or from other residents.

Besides, all vital roads in the area are currently closed, "severely affecting the provision of food as al-Sref Beni Hussein is completely inaccessible".

The source pointed out that dozens of unburied bodies are still scattered around out in the open.

He strongly urged authorities to provide food, water, medicine, medical support and shelter to the displaced in order to prevent more people from dying.

Kabkabiya: 10.660 families

Hadi Abdullah, humanitarian aid commissioner of Kabkabiya locality told Radio Dabanga that there about 10.660 displaced families in the district.

Current statistics indicate that 9.000 of these families come from al-Sref Beni Hussein city, 630 from Kabkabiya city and 1.030 families from Ghara Zawiya, he said.

The aid commissioner affirmed that shelter materials such as blankets, mattresses and plastic were airlifted from El-Fasher to al-Sref Beni Hussein locality.

At the same time, he praised the collective "humanitarian efforts" made by Kabkabiya residents, who provided 80 percent of the aid to the displaced from Jebel 'Amer.

60.000 displaced in two days

A dispute between Abbala and Benni Hussein tribesmen led to the spark of hostilities in the gold mining area of Jebel 'Amer, North Darfur, on 6 January. Initial reports suggested that at least 60.000 workers fled the region in the first two days of clashes.

On 8 January, Radio Dabanga reported that at least 20 villages had been burnt and that the fighting appeared to have expanded further than the gold mine area of Jebel 'Amer.

The day after, a total of 25 villages had been set on fire and the conflicting parties had reportedly received backup from communities from Central, South, West and parts of North Darfur.

In the fifth consecutive day of violence, Abbala gunmen allegedly enclosed the capital of al-Sref Beni Hussein locality and burned another four villages in the vicinity.

On Friday, 11 January, two Abbala leaders announced their intention to end hostilities and violence between their tribe and Beni Hussein via Radio Dabanga.

However, less than 24 hours later Abbala men and militias threatened to attack the city of Kabkabiya and sources suggested they were after a prominent Beni Hussein leader.

Vital roads in the region were closed, stranding tens of thousands in unsafe areas, sources report.

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