Clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region have spread claiming four more lives, an aid group said, bringing the death toll since Friday to 180.
“Renewed clashes have so far killed four people and wounded nine others,” said Adam Regal, spokesperson for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid group, on Monday.
West Darfur has been gripped by days of deadly fighting between Arab and non-Arab groups, largely centred in the Krink area.
But on Monday it spread to West Darfur’s state capital Geneina, around 80 kilometres from Krink, Regal said.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said that it wasn’t possible to determine a death toll for Monday, but that at least 10 people had been killed.
“Since sundown, we’ve been hearing gunshots. I can hear them right now,” a resident of El Geneina said.
Geneina resident Adam Eissa said he was awoken by “heavy weapons fire” while another inhabitant, Fatma Hussein, said she “was unable to leave the house” because of the fighting.
Janjaweed militia blamed for attacks
The violence first broke out on Friday when armed tribesmen attacked villages of the non-Arab Massalit minority in retaliation for the killing of two tribesmen, the aid group said.
At least eight people were killed on Friday.
On Sunday 168 others were killed and 98 wounded in Krink, Regal said.
He accused the Arab Janjaweed militia –– which gained notoriety for its role in the repression of an ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur in the early 2000s –– of orchestrating the latest attacks.
Many Janjaweed members have been integrated into the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, de facto deputy leader of Sudan, according to rights groups.
In 2003, a bitter civil war rocked Darfur pitting ethnic minority rebels complaining of discrimination against the Arab-dominated government under then-president Omar al Bashir.
More than 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
Darfur, which remains awash with weapons, has seen a spike in deadly violence since October last year triggered by disputes mainly over land, livestock and access to water and grazing.
Renewed violence in Darfur comes as Sudan grapples with the fallout from a coup in October last year led by army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan.
His power grab reversed a transition to full civilian rule that was set in motion after Bashir’s ouster in 2019.
Burhan met senior security officials on Sunday and they agreed to dispatch reinforcements to contain the violence, according to a statement issued after their meeting.
The United Nations, Britain and the United States have condemned the latest violence in Darfur and called for an investigation.
Darfur governor Mini Minawi on Sunday said recurrent clashes in the region were often due to the “slowed (response), complicity, or participation” of security forces.