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Hundreds of camp residents fled from West Darfur towards the Chad border

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Hundreds of residents of camps for the displaced fled around the city of Nyala, capital of West Darfur State, Tuesday towards the Chadian border, about 27 km from the city, after tribal clashes between Arab and African groups.

A tribal leader, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said in a telephone call from the city that “gunmen from the Arab groups wearing civilian clothes surround the camps for the displaced, especially Kardening camp, and whenever the security forces try to approach them, they open fire on them, so they retreat, and so the camp residents went out to Chad.”

On Sunday evening and throughout Monday, tribal clashes erupted in El-Geneina, the state capital, the first in the region since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

On Monday, the authorities announced in a statement, “After the State Security Committee deliberated on the events that took place in the city of El Geneina … It is prohibited to roam citizens in all parts of West Darfur state and its capital, El Geneina from five in the evening until six in the morning tomorrow.”

Witnesses said that the clashes started in the city on Sunday evening and continued on Monday with weapons and a number of houses were burned. The clashes revolve between members of Arab and African groups.

A security source confirmed that the sounds of the shooting were still being heard until midday on Tuesday.

“Until twelve o’clock (local time (10:00 GMT)), gunfire was heard and now it is silent, but yesterday the situation is jittery, and armed men on board of cars attacked security forces guarding government headquarters and killed two of them,” the source told France Press by phone.

Adam Muhammad Hussein, a resident of the city, said, “On the outskirts of the city, I saw dozens of families heading towards Chad, some on foot, some on motor vehicles, and a few of them on cars.”

“Our houses have been burned and now we have nothing to wear or eat, and the bodies lying on the ground we left when we fled the tents this morning,” Tayba Ramadan, a fleeing from the Kdernaiq camp, told France Press by phone.

The transitional government in Khartoum announced Monday evening to send more troops to Al-Geneina city.

The official Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) quoted Omar Mansis, Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, as issuing a decision “to send sufficient forces immediately from all components of the armed forces and security services to control the situation.”

She added, “A high-level delegation headed by Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Diqlo, First Vice President of the Sovereign Council, and Dr. Abdullah Hamdouk, Prime Minister, will visit the city of El Geneina and find out the conditions there on the ground.”

The government held an emergency meeting in Khartoum on Tuesday and formed a commission to investigate the events.

“A committee has been formed of the public prosecutor, representatives of the armed forces, intelligence, and quick support police, to investigate the facts about the events and the people who caused them and bring them to justice,” said Mohamed al-Faki, spokesman for the sovereignty council.

Armed factions negotiating with the government in Juba had suspended negotiations due to the events and said in a statement on Monday: “The Darfur path has been following with great concern since yesterday, the unfortunate events that took place in Al-Geneina city … and about these events, the Darfur path confirms the suspension of negotiations … to While handling the situation and investigating the crimes committed against citizens.”

The region, whose territory exceeds France, has been in turmoil since 2003 when groups belonging to African minorities took up arms against the Arab-backed Khartoum government.

In response, the Omar al-Bashir government recruited Arab militias accused by human rights organizations of atrocities during the conflict, which led to the International Criminal Court issuing arrest warrants for Bashir, two of his aides, and a tribal leader on charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

According to the United Nations, the conflict has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million.

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