At least 168 killed in violence in West Darfur, aid group says


The violence is the latest in a resurgence of such incidents in the war-weary region.

Western Darfur is home to many of the people displaced by the conflict in the early 2000s in the region, with the government putting down armed rebels with the help of nomadic Arab militias known as the Janjaweed.

About 2.5 million people were displaced by the violence and 300,000 were killed. Former President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. The trial of one of his aides, known as Ali Kushayb, began earlier this month.

The Coordinating Committee for Refugees and Displaced Persons accused Janjaweed militias of attempting to clear the area in order to take control of the country.

They called for the return of international peacekeepers, who withdrew from January 2020.

Representatives of Arab tribes did not respond to calls for comment.

Violence broke out between Arab nomads and Masalit farmers in Kreinik on Friday, according to several non-governmental organizations, after an individual altercation.

The Coordination Committee shared images of burned down buildings. The Darfur Bar Association said about 20,000 people had been displaced by the violence.

Tensions spread to the nearby town of El Geneina, aid groups said, where shops were ordered to close after sunset.

“A new flare-up of urban violence that killed and injured hundreds of civilians in the city of Geneina last year is a very real, immediate possibility,” said a relief official who said roadblocks had been erected in the city.

Violence in Darfur has increased since an October 2020 agreement between the transitional government of the post-Bashir country and some armed groups that had fought in Darfur.

Last year alone, 430,000 people were displaced, aid organizations say.

“This shows that the agreement had no positive effect on the lives or safety of people in the states of Darfur,” the Darfur Bar Association said in a statement on Saturday.

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