Sudan: South Darfur Peace Conference Held Following Attacks

Nyala — A conference for peaceful coexistence between the Fallata and Masalit tribes was held on Tuesday, with the support of the Governor of South Darfur, Mousa Mahdi, and supervision of Deputy Commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Lt Gen Abdelrahim Hamdan.

Governor Mahdi, expressed his regret over recent violent incidents between the two tribes to representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change, Resistance Committees, and Native Administration leaders at the conference in Nyala, capital of South Darfur.

On October 22, two people were killed in Gireida in South Darfur by a group of 50 armed men who opened fire on the village with the aim of looting livestock and property. Earlier that week, 12 people were killed by groups of armed Fallata herders who attacked Masalit villages and camps for the displaced in the area of Haddad, south of Gireida. At least 29 people were injured during the violent events.

He called for "this chapter to be closed" and for people to practice "values of good neighbourliness and peaceful coexistence."

He called upon the ajaweed* to take a balanced approach to reconciliation between the two parties, expressing his happiness that a door has been opened for a reconciliation document to be signed in the near future.

Abdelrahman Adam, Sultan of the Dajo and head of the ajaweed committee, expressed his readiness to provide all assistance for reconciliation to be completed "in the coming days."

The representative of the Forces for Freedom and Change, Adel Abdallah, called for arbitration to address the roots of the problems and avoid using top-down solutions.

Maj Gen Bashir Adam, representative of the RSF deputy commander, stressed the readiness of RSF in coordination with the South Darfur Security Committee to implement the recommendations of the conference and called on the head of the ajaweed committee to be "decisive, severe, and just."

He said that "after the next conference, South Darfur will be ready for its political and security work." The conference is the sixth of its kind in three months between various tribes. The next conference will be between El Taaysha and the Fallata tribes.

The representative of the Masalit delegation, Ibrahim Abakir, spoke about the bonds of coexistence and good neighbourliness between the two tribes which have lasted over a century. He said the recent attacks have broken the peaceful coexistence. Nonetheless, the representative confirmed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities document.

In addition, deaths, injuries, and looted property which have not yet been registered with the government must be clarified according to Abakir. He said all facts and events must be clarified before they are presented to the Ajaweed.

The representative of the Fallata delegation, Mohamed El Tom, called for the conference period to be extended, stressing his commitment to all reconciliation decisions and their readiness for good neighbourliness.

He called for an investigation into events last week and the release of detainees who have been held since August. He indicated that a number of attacks had occurred against the Fallata tribe in the villages of Ed Dekka and Saadoun in Gireida locality.

Last week, the governor of South Darfur said that the law will affect everyone who participated in the killing or burning of citizens' property. He stressed that they are "continuing efforts to extend the state, collect weapons, and achieve justice".

The Darfur Bar Association has condemned the violence in Gereida locality, along with the attack which killed 15 people earlier this year north of Gireida town. "The unfortunate incidents in Gireida locality clearly reveal the weakness of the rule of law and the extent of the uncontrolled spread of weapons in the area which are used by all parties."

*The Ajaweed is a council made up of tribal elders which mediates and arbitrates between tribes.

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