'14 killed' in Sudan tribal clashes near Ethiopia border

By: AFP
Published: 11:37 PM, 15 Jul, 2022
'14 killed' in Sudan tribal clashes near Ethiopia border
Caption: '14 killed' in Sudan tribal clashes near Ethiopia border.
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At least 14 people were killed Friday in tribal clashes in Sudan's Blue Nile state which borders Ethiopia, residents and local officials members told AFP.

The clashes, which erupted between the Berti and Hawsa tribes on Monday in the Qissan district, had paused but restarted on Friday, with gunfire leaving "14 dead from both sides", a local official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Medical sources at a hospital in Blue Nile capital Damazine called for urgent blood donations and said around 40 wounded, some of them seriously, had been admitted to the facility.

Leaders from the two tribes confirmed deaths among their groups but refused to provide a precise toll when contacted by AFP.

The violence broke out because the Hawsa tribe was calling for "the formation of a local civil authority to supervise access to land" but the Berti tribe refused, a prominent Hawsa member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

However, a senior member of the Berti tribe said the group was responding to "a violation of the Berti lands" by the Hawsas.

"These lands are ours, so if we want to form a local authority, it will be composed solely of Berti and not Hawsa" members, the Berti tribe member said, also requesting anonymity.

The Qissan region and Blue Nile state more generally have long seen unrest, with southern guerrillas a thorn in the side of Sudan's former strongman president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the army in 2019 following street pressure.

Sudan's military authorities, who took power in a coup in October last year, have not yet commented on the Qissan clashes.

Experts say the coup created a security vacuum that has fostered a resurgence in tribal violence, in a country where deadly clashes regularly erupt over land, livestock, access to water and grazing.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.