Forces deployed in East Darfur to curb new tribal clashes
After the deadly clashes that broke out on Wednesday between Rizeigat and Ma’aliya in the area of Um Rakuba, Abu Karinka locality in East Darfur, a cautious calm prevailed today.
Light skirmishes occurred today in the area of El Musaba’at, south of Abu Jabra, Member of Parliament for Abu Karinka constituency, Hamdan Abdallah Tirab, reported to Radio Dabanga from Omdurman.
Tirab said, after a meeting of the Parliament with the Minister of Interior, Lt. Ismat Abdel Rahman Zeinelabdin, that the Minister has taken a number of measures to contain the tribal fighting in East Darfur. “A police battalion will be sent to the area, as well as armoured vehicles, backed with helicopters. The forces will be fully authorised to intervene at any time, and disperse gatherings of armed tribesmen.”
The MP added that the parliamentary Security Committee and East Darfur State parliamentarians attended the meeting, which convened after Tirab had raised questions about the participation of government forces among the Rizeigat in clashes between the two tribes in the area of Um Rakuba on Saturday.
In Khartoum, dozens of youngsters, students, and prominent Ma’aliya leaders staged a protest in front of the Presidential Palace. They raised banners demanding justice, the halting of what they called “genocide of Ma’aliya”, and the abolition of the state of East Darfur. The protesters handed a memorandum to the Palace, in which they stated that they hold the federal government accountable for “the attacks by Rizeigat militiamen on Ma’aliya civilians of which the last incident was the massacre of Um Rakuba”. The area of Um Rakuba is inhabited by Ma’aliya.
The protesters called on President Omar Al Bashir to intervene, and “order the disarmament of the militias, reveal the results of the investigations by the Commission of Inquiry into former violent incidents, and investigate the clashes of this week, which should be published too”.
The Deputy Governor of East Darfur State, Ahmed Kibir Jibril, told Radio Dabanga from ed Daein, capital of the state, that the situation is calm again in “the entire state”. “A large number of neutral forces have been deployed in Abu Karinka locality to prevent renewed clashes between the Rizeigat and Ma’aliya.”
“The local police have counted the casualties. Until now 51 Rizeigat were slain, and more than 70 injured, while 123 Ma’aliya have been killed, and more than 70 wounded.”
The Deputy Governor called on the Rizeigat and Ma’aliya to constrain themselves and “look at the future”. He stressed that the East Darfur authorities deal with the problem with 100 percent neutrality. “The forces deployed to separate the warring parties are utterly professional troops from other tribes.”
Unamid head, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, has expressed his deep concern about the ongoing tribal conflicts in Darfur. During a press conference today in South Darfur’s capital of Nyala, he described the clashes between the Rizeigat and Ma’aliya as “very serious” as large numbers of people were killed and large numbers of civilians have been displaced.
Ibn Chambas said that Unamid has not been able to access the area. He stressed that the situation in East Darfur needs immediate intervention in order to save the lives of civilians. “The worrisome escalation of tribal conflicts requires an urgent solution.”
File photo: Representatives of Rizeigat and Ma’aliya tribes were transported to El Taweisha, North Darfur, to participate in the signing of an agreement to cease hostilities in East Darfur, 21 August 2013 (Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)
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