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Death Toll Rises in Sudanese Port City amid Fierce Tribal Clashes

Death Toll Rises in Sudanese Port City amid Fierce Tribal Clashes

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 - 05:00
A woman looks at burnt houses during clashes between nomads and residents in Deleij village, located in Wadi Salih locality, Central Darfur, Sudan June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Sudan imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Tuesday in an eastern port city following tribal clashes earlier this week that left more than 20 people dead and injured scores.

The fighting in Port Sudan in the Red Sea province erupted earlier this week between the Beni Amer tribe and the displaced Nuba tribe.

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee said the clashes continued until late Tuesday and death toll climbed to 25, after 13 people were initially reported killed on Tuesday. At least 87 others were wounded, it added.

Red Sea Gov. Abddalla Shinqrai Ohag declared a state of emergency across Port Sudan on Tuesday until further notice. Security forces earlier this week deployed more troops to the city to help contain the clashes.

It wasn't the first time the two tribes clashed in Port Sudan or elsewhere in the county, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The tensions between the two tribes date back to May 2019 in the eastern city of Qadarif, mainly over water and other resources. The clashes flared up in August last year in Port Sudan, when at least three dozen people from both sides were killed. They also clashed in January in the port city and nine people were killed.

The recent Port Sudan clashes came less than three weeks after another bout of violence involving different tribes in West Darfur province killed more than 60 people and forced 2,500 Sudanese into neighboring Chad, according to the United Nations.

The tribal violence and armed attacks in different parts of the country pose a significant challenge to efforts of Sudan’s transitional authorities to stabilize the country amid a fragile transition to democracy more than a year after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April last year.

The transitional government faces mounting challenges, mainly reviving an economy battered by decades-long civil wars and international sanctions.

According to AP, ending insurgencies in Sudan’s far-flung provinces is another key priority, partly to slash military spending, which takes up much of the national budget. Rebel groups have for months engaged in talks with the government, but the two sides have yet to cut a peace deal.

An international virtual conference on Sudan, hosted by Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, is expected to address the peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebels, the office of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said.

The conference comes after Western and Arab governments pledged $1.8 billion in aid to Sudan in a similar meeting co-hosted by Germany in June.

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