Clashes in West Darfur left at least 200 people dead and over a hundred injured, local authorities said on April 27. The clashes unfolded between members of the non-Arab Massalit community and Arab fighters near West Darfur's state capital El Geneina. It was the latest ethnic violence in the vast, arid and impoverished region.
The independent aid group General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur said the violence began on April 22 when armed men attacked Massalit villages in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen, according to the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid group. "This massive crime left around 201 killed and 103 wounded" on April 24 alone, said West Darfur governor Khamees Abkar in a video published late Tuesday. In total, 213 people are said to have died. The violence comes as Sudan struggles to gain stability, six months after a coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan overthrew the short-lived civilian government.
Town of Krink 'completely destroyed'
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) confirmed the events on April 27. "Some bodies were buried without being autopsied or reported," the medics' union added. Some witnesses accused the Janjaweed militia of orchestrating the violence. The Janjaweed was an Arab militia that was involved in the repression of an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur in the early 2000s under autocratic former President Omar al-Bashir.
The state governor blamed government forces tasked with securing Krink and its environs for "withdrawing without any justification" as the main attacks began early on April 24. Krink "was completely destroyed including government institutions," Abkar said. "It is a crime against humanity."
U.N. Human Rights Chief calls for investigation
The U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged Sudanese authorities to protect the population of West Darfur. "I am appalled," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. "I am concerned that this region continues to see repeated, serious incidents of inter-communal violence, with mass casualties," she said. "While initial measures taken by the authorities to calm tensions are welcome, I urge the authorities to address the underlying causes of violence in this region and fulfil their responsibility to protect the population," Bachelet added.
Her remarks come as the U.N. Security Council in New York prepared to hold an informal, closed-door meeting to address the crisis. "I call on the Sudanese authorities to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into these attacks and hold all those responsible to account in accordance with international human rights law," she said, urging authorities to take immediate action to protect the population and assist the wounded and displaced.
jcg/msh (AFP, Reuters)