Sudan: South Darfur Governor Grants Additional Powers to Military Forces After Tribal Fighting

Intercommunal violence in Darfur has left millions in need of assistance. Pictured here, an IDP settlement in Sortoni (file photo).

Nyala / Khartoum — On Tuesday, Mousa Mahdi, the wali (governor) of South Darfur, confirmed that the state's security committee granted additional security powers to the military forces deployed in the south of the state. They are now allowed to use force to control the security situation in the region, in the aftermath of the armed conflict between the Rizeigat and Fallata tribes.

During his visit to the area where Tuesday's events took place, Mousa Mahdi announced that the state security committee had issued strict directives to military commanders to arrest those involved in fuelling the conflict.

The conflict has cost the lives of at least 70 people from both tribes and caused the wounding of dozens more. On Tuesday, Fallata leaders reported that the death toll of an attack on El Tawil village by Rizeigat gunmen has risen to at least 56 people.

Ibrahim Mousa, spokesperson for the Fallata tribe, said at a press conference in Khartoum yesterday that the Rizeigat fighters drove cars and rode on horses and camels. He also criticised the failure of the government forces to intervene. Especially because there was an army garrison stationed only five kilometres away from the village.

Attacks occurred in the area last month as well. Sudan is planning to send more RSF forces to Darfur to contain the insecurity in the region following the ending of the mandate of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on December 31 last year.

Tensions and violent incidents between Rizeigat and Fallata herders have a long history in South Darfur. The Rizeigat are nomadic Arab herders. In South Darfur, they mainly herd cattle. During the war in Darfur that started in 2003, many young Rizeigat herders were recruited to join for the 'Janjaweed militia'. The Fallata are cattle herders as well, but from African ethnic origin.

Last year, South Darfur also witnessed tribal fighting between the Fallata and Rizeigat herders. Later, leaders of both tribes signed a covenant and pledged to end hostilities in the region.

Central Darfur violence

In Central Darfur, Abdelrazig Mohamed (22) was shot and wounded on Tuesday while another individual went missing on the road from Zalingei to Golo.

Abdelrazig Muhammad, who works as an assistant lorry driver and was carrying relief materials, told Radio Dabanga that three gunmen driving in a vehicle shot through the lorry windows and wounded him. They then stole SGD 60,000* and a device worth SGD 25,000.

On the dame say, citizens from North Darfur told Radio Dabanga that three gunmen stole a vehicle and kidnapped the driver, Mohamed Abdallah, at gunpoint near Kutum.

Last weekend, North Darfur also witnessed an armed robbery.

* USD 1 = SDG 55 at the time of posting, according to the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the CBoS. Effective foreign exchange rates however can vary widely on Sudan's parallel market, where the greenback sold this morning for SDG 300.

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