25 February 2013

Sudan: 'Cautious Calm Prevails in Al Sref, North Darfur'

Photo: Tim McKulka/UN Photo
Victims of ethnic violence receiving treatment at a hospital in Akobo, Sudan (file photo).

Al Sref Beni Hussein — A cautious calm prevails in Al Sref Beni Hussein, North Darfur, after Abbala militants attacked the city on Saturday and clashed with citizens. The violent clashes reportedly resulted in the death of 57 people and left 63 others injured, of whom several were airlifted to El Fasher for treatment.

Witnesses from West, Central and South Darfur informed Radio Dabanga that large groups of border guards and Abbala militants in Land Cruiser vehicles, on horses and camels were heading towards the town of Al Sref Beni Hussein.

Some witnesses also stated that the fighting had stopped on Sunday after the Sudan Air Forces intervened on Saturday by means of an air strike in which several Abbala militants were killed. Besides, a number of their vehicles which were used for the attack on Saturday were destroyed.

A resident from Al Sref revealed that the clashes ceased on Sunday and added that dozens of corpses of Abbala assailants have not yet been evacuated. He described the humanitarian situation in Al Sref as 'very bad' and 'getting catastrophic'. The resident added that no aid has arrived for the town's population, even though many of the roads have been reopened immediately after the fighting stopped.

'Armed forces were able to contain the situation'

For his part, Governor of North Darfur, Osman Kibir confirmed that the armed forces were able to contain the situation in the locality of Al Sref. Kibir told reporters the armed forces had taken the lead and would persist until its goal is achieved in the area. He added that the army would forcefully intervene until all conflicts in the region have been resolved and social peace has been established between the two sides, as stipulated in the peaceful coexistence agreement signed by both parties.

The governor revealed that the hostilities between Abbala and Beni Hussein have re-ignited during the past two days as a result of 'criminals seeking to plunder and loot'. These events have triggered Abbala militants to attack the city of Al Sref, he added.

It was reported that attempts were made to dissuade the Abbala militants from attacking Al Sref Beni Hussein and that a 'considerable number returned to their senses', while a number of others (mainly from Central and West Darfur) persisted in the attack.

Related: N. Darfur town Al-Sref remains under 'state of siege', no clashes (22 February 2012) 20 die in fresh clashes between Abbala and Beni Hussein, N. Darfur (21 February 2012)

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