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Home World News Washington Post World News Official: death toll in latest violence in Darfur now above 200

Official: death toll in latest violence in Darfur now above 200

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CAIRO – The death toll from weekend tribal clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs in the western region of Darfur has surpassed 200 people, a senior official said Tuesday.

Khamis Abdalla Abkar, the provincial governor of West Darfur province, said at least 103 others were injured in Sunday’s fighting in the town of Kreinik.

He said attackers overwhelmed a joint security force in the city, leading to his withdrawal.

“This is a crime, a crime against humanity,” Abkar said in a video commentary, adding that the city was destroyed, including the government institutions.

The fighting, some of the deadliest in the region in recent years, stemmed from the killing of two Arab herders on Thursday just outside Kreinik, 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) east of Genena, the provincial capital of western Darfur.

Large numbers of Arab militias known as janjaweed stormed the city early Sunday with heavy weapons in retaliation, he said.

The violence finally reached West Darfur’s provincial capital, Genena, on Sunday, and the main hospital was attacked.

The shooting took place at the facility, including the emergency department. According to the charity Doctors Without Borders, an employee was killed and health workers were evacuated.

Abkar, the provincial governor, also said clashes on Thursday and Friday left eight people dead and more than two dozen injured.

Abkar said authorities have taken unprecedented security measures to protect civilians in West Darfur. The army, he said, sent a brigade into the province and joined a civil defense force already stationed in Kreinik.

Tensions between Arab and African Masalit communities in Kreinik date back to December, when a property dispute in a local market sparked clashes that left at least 88 people dead.

The fighting comes at a critical time for Sudan, which has been plunged into chaos since a military coup last year. The takeover disrupted the country’s transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The clashes raise questions about military leaders’ ability to bring security to Darfur, which has been ravaged by years of civil war. In 2020, the UN Security Council ended its peacekeeping mission there.

The conflict in Darfur started in 2003 when ethnic Africans rioted and accused the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination. Al-Bashir’s government was accused of retaliation by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing the janjaweed on civilians – a charge it denied.



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