Sudan: 40 People Killed in Ethnic Clashes in West Darfur, UN Says

A map showing the Darfur region of Sudan ("Shamal" means north, "Janub" means south, and "Gharb" means west).

At least 40 people have been killed in Sudan's West Darfur region after three days of ethnic clashes that have prompted the government to declare a state of emergency, the United Nations announced Monday.

The clashes in El Geneina, which is close to the border with Chad, also left at least 58 people wounded.

Fighting among members of the Arabi Rizeigat and Masalit tribes in El Geneina began after armed men shot two people and wounded two others in the Masalit tribe, according to the U.N.

While authorities have yet to determine the cause of the shootings, gunfire exchanges between the two tribes continued into Monday, claiming at least 40 residents.

Residents told Agence France-Presse they heard fresh gunfire accompanied by loud explosions at dawn Monday as the violence spread to the suburbs.

The witnesses who described thick smoke hovering over the city also said women and children are among those fleeing.

Sudan's security council, which declared a state of emergency, said it had deployed troops to the area to restore peace.

Conflicts erupted into war in 2003 in the Darfur region, claiming at least 300,000 lives and displacing about 2.5 million people, according to the U.N

Several peace accords have been signed since, but the area remained under the shadow of the war.

Easy access to weapons, coupled with ethnic differences and confusion about land or water ownership, has resulted in a string of killings.

In January, two weeks after the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission ended its 13-year occupation of the area following the October peace deal, about 200 people died in ethnic clashes.

Like now, this conflict also stemmed from disagreements between Arab herdsmen and non-Arab farmers in South Darfur.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.