Death toll from violence in Sudan’s West Darfur rises to 83

CAIRO (AP) — The death toll from tribal violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan’s West Darfur province climbed to at least 83, including women and children, a doctor’s union and aid worker said, as sporadic violence continued on Sunday.

The ruling sovereign council met on Sunday and said security forces would be deployed to the area.

The deadly clashes grew out of a fistfight on Friday between two people in a camp for displaced people in Genena, the provincial capital.

An Arab man was stabbed to death and his family, from the Arab Rizeigat tribe, attacked the people in the Krinding camp and other areas on Saturday.

Among the dead was a United States (US) citizen. Saeed Baraka, 36, from Atlanta, had arrived in Sudan less than two months ago to visit his family in Darfur, his wife, Safiya Mohammed, told The Associated Press (AP) over the phone.

The father of three rushed to relieve a neighbour amid the clashes in the Jabal village in West Darfur, when he was shot in his head on Saturday, his brother-in-law Juma Salih said.

Baraka’s wife said the US Embassy in Khartoum phoned her to offer condolences. The embassy did not return phone calls and emails from AP seeking comment.

The violence led to local authorities imposing a round-the-clock curfew on the entire province. Besides the 83 killed, at least 160 others were wounded, according to Sudan’s doctors’ committee in West Darfur. It said there were troops among the wounded.

It said clashes subsided by midday on Sunday and the security situation started to improve.

The committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded a popular uprising that eventually led to the military’s ouster of longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The clashes pose a challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in areas like Darfur, where most people live in camps for the displaced and refugees.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy and is being ruled by a joint military-civilian government.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned” about the violence and “calls on the Sudanese authorities to expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation and bring an end to the fighting”, his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said.