Sudanese authorities on Saturday imposed a round-the-clock curfew in the entire West Darfur province after tribal clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs killed at least six people and wounded at least 28 others.
Gov. Mohammed Abdalla al-Douma said the curfew began Saturday and would last until further notice, and includes the closure of all markets and a ban on gatherings across the province. Al-Douma also granted security forces and soldiers a mandate to use force to control the situation, according to decrees obtained by The Associated Press.
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The violence comes two weeks after the UN Security Council ended the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force’s mandate in the Darfur region, following pressure from Sudan’s transitional government, Russia and other African nations. The Darfur region remains scarred by war after a rebellion in the early 2000s was brutally suppressed.
The clashes erupted Friday in Genena, West Darfur’s provincial capital, when a man was killed at a market in the Krinding camp for internally displaced people. The circumstances that led to his death were not immediately clear.
His body was taken to the Genena hospital, where his family clashed with police at the morgue, said Salah Saleh, a former medical director at the hospital.
The violence then ramped up on Saturday morning, with armed men attacking the camp, according to Adam Regal, a spokesman for a local organization that helps run refugee camps in Darfur.
Salah, the physician, said at least six people were killed, including the first victim, and 28 others were wounded. He warned that the casualty toll was likely much higher. He also shared footage showing women and children carrying their belongings, allegedly fleeing clashes in the camp.
West Darfur was the scene of deadly clashes over a year ago between Arabs and non-Arabs that killed at least 54 people and displaced about 40,000 people, with thousands crossing to neighboring Chad.
The clashes pose a significant challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in some areas. The country is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government is now in power.