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REHED EL BERDI - 7 May 2013

Renewed tribal clashes in South Darfur leave 36 dead

Renewed clashes between Salamat and Ta’isha tribesmen in South Darfur left a total of 36 people killed and dozens reportedly injured on Sunday.

Rahad El Berdi, where many battles have been occurring, is the stronghold of the Ta’isha tribe. Apparently they have been carrying out strikes against Salamat tribesmen in a spill-over conflict that began more than a month ago in Central Darfur.

On Sunday, Ta’isha elements driving five vehicles and 25 motorcycles attacked Salamat tribesmen in Wadi Azerek, northwest of Rahad El Berdi city, according to a tribal source.

The Salamat source said that 14 of his fellow tribesmen were killed in the attack and nine were injured. He added that 22 Ta’isha were also killed in a fire exchange during the assault, but could not confirm how many Ta’isha fighters had been injured.

He stressed that fighting ceased on Monday, and the region is currently experiencing an uneasy calm. The warring parties signed a peace treaty on 15 April in South Darfur. A few days later, it is alleged that 500 Salamat families were deported from Rahad El Berdi city to Nyala in a move jointly coordinated by state and local authorities.

Reports state that many of the attacks against the Salamat have been led by Ali Kushayb, a Ta’isha tribesman and suspected war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is the commander of the Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) in Rahad El Berdi.

UNHCR said that as result of the battles that began on 3 April in Umm Dukhun, 50,000 people sought refuge in Chad within a short period of time, terming it the “largest influx of refugees from Sudan into Chad since 2005”.

Reporting by Radio Dabanga