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Sudan to deploy troops in Darfur after tribal clashes

It comes less than a week after the United Nations Security Council agreed to end the UN and African Union's long-running peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, when its mandate expires on 31 December.

FILE: A displaced Sudanese woman walks past an UN-African Union mission to Darfur (UNAMID) vehicle at the Kalma camp for internally displaced people in Darfur's state capital Niyala on 9 October 2019. Picture: AFP

KHARTOUM - Sudan is to send troop reinforcements to the south of its Darfur region after 15 people were killed in tribal clashes, the official news agency SUNA said.

The governor of South Darfur state, Musa Mahdi, announced "the deployment of a large number of military forces in order to arrest those involved in the clashes and to collect the arms", it reported Sunday.

"The era of reconciliation conferences is over and the era of implementing the law has started," Mahdi said, referring to talks in recent months, as quoted by SUNA.

A local official, also cited by the agency, said a dispute between the Massalit and Fallata tribes in the Gereida area had led to armed clashes in which two members of the Fallata were killed.

The Fallata mounted reprisal attacks that left 13 dead and 34 wounded among the Massalit, SUNA said, without specifying when the violence broke out.

Gereida has been the frequent scene of deadly clashes between the rival tribes over the past two years, but this was the first since a reconciliation meeting held in October.

It comes less than a week after the United Nations Security Council agreed to end the UN and African Union's long-running peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, when its mandate expires on 31 December.

Conflict in the vast Darfur region of western Sudan has largely eased in recent years apart from confrontations, mostly over land and water resources, between nomadic tribes and farmers.

The withdrawal of UNAMID - deployed since 2007 and which had 16,000 peacekeepers at its peak - will begin January 1 and is expected to be completed by 30 June.

The termination was requested by the Sudanese government and backed by China, Russia, and African members of the Security Council.

Sudan's "transitional government is committed to providing security and stability for all citizens of the Darfur states," the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

"It will continue its efforts to address the roots of the problem and consolidate the foundations of tribal reconciliation and lay the foundations for transitional justice and the rule of law," it said.

Darfur was the scene of a bitter conflict that broke out in 2003 between African minority rebels, complaining of marginalisation, and forces backed by the government of now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

The United Nations estimates the fighting killed 300,000 people, mostly in the first years of the conflict, and displaced 2.5 million others.

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