'Ethnic cleansing' accusations as East Darfur death toll rises
12 August 2013
Since the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed in May 2006 between the Government of Sudan and various rebel groups operating in Darfur, inter-Arab fighting has become the “largest cause of violent death.” Fights between tribes, such as the Ma’alia and Rizeigat, often erupt over pastoral land and cattle.
Battles between the Rizeigat and Ma'alia tribes in East Darfur continued on Saturday and Sunday, rising the total casualty toll into the hundreds thus far. Meanwhile, the Shura Council (heads of communities) of the Ma'alia tribe is accusing the Rizeigat of “ethnic cleansing and forced deportation.”
Ahmed Mohamed Adud, East Darfur secretary-general, told Radio Dabanga that 106 members of the Rizegat tribe were killed and 111 were injured as of Sunday evening. (…)
Sheikh Murdis Juma, Chairman of the Shura Council of the Ma'alia, told Radio Dabanga that 50 members of his tribe were killed and another 35 were injured. He added that many are still missing and that bodies and wounded persons had not yet been evacuated from the battlefield.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga on Monday, the sheikh denied that government authorities had transferred wounded Ma'alia tribesmen to North Darfur. Juma further claimed that “Rizeigat militias torched the village of Dar Es Salaam in Abu Karinka locality on Monday”.
“Ma'alia citizens and leaders in Adila and Abu Karinka refused to meet with the governor of East Darfur Abdul Hamid Musa Kasha, his chief of staff of the Sudan Armed Forces, and the rule federal minister Hasabo Mohamed Abdulrahman during their visit to Adila and Abu Karinka localities Monday,” said the sheikh.
While Ed Daein is generally accepted as the stronghold of the Rizeigat tribe, Adila and Abu Karinka are known to be the stronghold of the Ma'alia.
Juma is demanding the central government to “sack Governor Kasha and appoint someone from the military instead to restore stability and security in the state.” According to him, fighting between the two tribes broke out over land-use disputes in the areas of Keleikel and Abu Salama and not because of thefts and killings.
“Both tribes held a four-day forum in Ed Daein two days before the Eid Al Fitr holidays to solve the issue of land disputes. However, the Rizeigat delegation refused to sign the agreement during the closing session, which led to the explosion of the situation.” (…)
The Shura Council of the Ma'alia tribe claimed in a statement that the Rizeigat are practising “ethnic cleansing and forcibly deporting the Ma'alia from Ed Daein with the knowledge and complicity of the state government.”
"The Ma'alia want to be represented in a state's government other than East Darfur. We ask Khartoum to find a solution to this issue in the federal Constitution. We are boycotting the Rizeigat tribe politically, economically and socially,” said the Shura.
For their part, witnesses said the East Darfur population is “living in a state of extreme fear and terror.” Schools, shops, and government institutions are still closed and transportation within and across states is compromised, they said.
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