Death toll from violence in Sudan’s West Darfur rises to 48

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A Sudanese doctors’ union says the death toll from tribal violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in West Darfur province has climbed to at least 48, including women and children

CAIRO — The death toll from tribal violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan’s West Darfur province climbed to at least 48, including women and children, a doctor’s union and aid worker said, as sporadic violence continued Sunday.

The deadly clashes grew out of a fistfight Friday between two people in a camp for displaced people in Genena, the provincial capital. An Arab man was stabbed to death and his family, from the Arab Rizeigat tribe, attacked the people in the Krinding camp and other areas Saturday.

Among the dead was a U.S. citizen. Saeed Baraka, 36, from Atlanta, had arrived in Sudan less than two months ago to visit his family in Darfur, his wife, Safiya Mohammed, told The Associated Press over the phone.

The father of three children rushed to relieve a neighbor amid the clashes in the Jabal village in West Darfur, when he was shot in his head Saturday, his brother-in-law Juma Salih said.

Baraka’s wife said the U.S. embassy in Khartoum phoned her to offer condolences. The embassy did not return phone calls and emails from the AP seeking comment.

The violence led to local authorities imposing a round-the-clock curfew on the entire province. Besides the 48 killed, at least 97 others were wounded, according to Sudan’s doctors’ union. It said the casualty toll was likely to rise.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country.

That bout of violence came two weeks after the U.N. Security Council ended the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force’s mandate in the region. It also puts into question the transitional government’s ability to stabilize the conflict-ravaged Darfur region.

Salah Saleh, a physician and former medical director at the main hospital in Genena, said clashes renewed Sunday morning at the Abu Zar camp for internally displaced people, south of the provincial capital.

Adam Regal, a spokesman for a local organization that helps run refugee camps in Darfur, said there were overnight attacks on Krinding. He shared footage showing properties burned to the ground, and wounded people on stretchers and in hospital beds.

Authorities in West Darfur imposed a curfew beginning Saturday that includes the closing of all markets and a ban on public gatherings. The central government in Khartoum also said Saturday a high-ranking delegation, chaired by the country’s top prosecutor, was heading to the province to help re-establish order.