CAIRO (AP) — Tribal clashes that erupted over the weekend between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan’s western Darfur region have killed at least 40 people and wounded around 60 others, the United Nations (UN) said on Monday.
The violence was between the Arab Rizeigat and the Masalit tribes in Genena, the provincial capital of West Darfur province. It happened after unknown armed men last Saturday shot dead two people from the Masalit, according to the UN humanitarian affairs agency.
Two others from the Masalit were wounded in that shooting, it said. The circumstances of the shootings were not immediately clear.
Since then, the two tribes have mobilised forces and gun fire could still be heard in Genena late Monday, the UN said.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in West Darfur.
Spokesman for a local organisation that helps run refugee camps in Darfur Adam Regal said a shell hit a camp for displaced people in Genena on Monday, causing a fire that burned several houses. He shared video footage showing flames and thick clouds of black smoke.
“The situation is very difficult and grave,” he said.
The Sudanese doctors’ committee in West Darfur said armed men also opened fire on an ambulance late Sunday, wounding three healthcare workers.
Member of the committee Dr Ibrahim Adam Othman said the death toll could be much higher because many were not able to reach hospitals.
The UN said all humanitarian activities were suspended as roads around the southern part of Genena were blocked.
It said more than 700,000 people have been affected by the clashes, since Genena serves as a hub for aid delivery to the conflict-wrecked region.
An unknown number of people fled their homes in Hay al-Jabal and al-Jamarik neighbourhoods in Genena and took refuge in nearby mosques and public buildings, the UN agency added.