Renewed tribal clashes cause chaos in Central Darfur

By IAfrica
In Sudan
Jun 20th, 2014

Clashes between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes renewed on Thursday and Friday in Salayle and Mukjar areas in Central Darfur. The state’s governor has confirmed nine casualties. While a joint force and a committee of clerics are on their way to separate the fighting tribes, residents fear the situation could explode again at any moment.

The fighting ignited when both tribes accused each other of stealing cows last Saturday. Central Darfur Governor, Jaafar Abdel Hakam Ishag, told Radio Dabanga that the fighting in Salayle, north of Um Dukhun town, on Thursday resulted in five casualties. Four were Salamat, the other was Misseriya. Four others were wounded and have been brought to Um Dukhun hospital for treatment.

Clashes on Friday morning in the area of Mukjar town, in Mukjar locality, led to the deaths of four fighters, Ishag confirmed from Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur. Three were from the Salamat tribe and one from the Misseriya tribe. Again, four others were injured. They have been transferred to Garsila hospital.

Joint force, committee to the scenes

The Governor announced that a joint force consisting of military elements, security elements, Central Reserve Forces known as ‘Abu Tira’, and police was under way to Um Dukhun and Mukjar towns, in order to separate the two fighting tribes. “A committee formed by the native administrations and religious leaders is also en route to the scene in Mukjar to contain the situation, and to call upon the tribesmen to listen to the voice of reason.”

On Monday, a listener from Um Dukhun reported that Salamat tribesmen stole 113 cows from the Misseriya on Saturday. In response, more than 80 cows belonging to Salamat were taken by Misseriya tribesmen on Sunday.

Chaos in Mukjar

An eyewitness from Mukjar town told Radio Dabanga that the clashes on Friday started when Misseriya tribesmen carried out an attack against Salamat inside the town. He stressed that the battle took place 20 km away from a police station. “The clashes were fierce and made the citizens flee from the market to their homes,” he described.

The source reported that Abas El Haj Sinin, Omar Ishag Saleh, and El Rali Mohamed Ahmed, from the Salamat tribe, were killed in Mukjar. Younis Abdallah Mohamed, a Misseriya, also died. Five people are injured, amongst them Jando Hamdan Taha, a member of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). He was hit by a stray bullet at the market and has been transferred to Garsila hospital for treatment.

A pro-government militia exploited the chaos in the town to rob 75 shops,” the eyewitness further reported. During the clashes, five donkeys and a number of horses and camels were killed. “Eventually, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and security elements intervened and drove the warring parties out of the town, which continued the fighting in the outskirts of Mukjar.”

Both tribes gathering arms

He confirmed that at both Misseriya and Salamat tribes, there are huge gatherings of vehicles mounted with Dushka machine guns, as well as motorcycles, horses, and camels. He told Radio Dabanga that he expects the situation to explode again at any moment.

Residents of Mukjar appealed to the tribes through this radio station, to follow the obligations they agreed to in the reconciliation agreement signed in July last year in Zalingei. They also called upon the government and the native administration to intervene and disperse the gathering of arms at both sides.

Fear of spill-over to camp

The internally displaced people in Mukjar camp fear that the fighting will spill over to their camp. A Sheikh told Radio Dabanga that the camp “is besieged by fighters from both Misseriya and Salamat. Residents are not able to move outside the camp to fetch water and firewood, and go about their daily businesses.” The security and food situations are deteriorating. He appealed to the UN mission in Darfur (Unamid) to patrol the camp for 24 hours, and to the international community to move and provide aid to the displaced, especially since the fall has entered.

In April 2013, 4,000 men of both Misseriya and Salamat battled each other in Um Dukhun after a deadly incident between two men from both tribes. Their fighting spread north and to South Darfur. The UNHCR at the time said that as a result of this battle, 50,000 people sought refuge in Chad within a short period of time, terming it the “largest influx of refugees from Sudan into Chad since 2005”.

File photo: Central Darfur Governor, Jaafar Abdel Hakam Ishag


New ‘explosive’ Salamat-Misseriya tension in Central Darfur (16 June 2014)

Central Darfur town ‘a battlefield’ as Misseriya, Salamat clash (19 February 2014)

Misseriya, Salamat ‘reach agreement’ at Zalingei conference in Central Darfur (1 July 2014)

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