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Sudan imposes curfew after tribal clashes kill 4

Authorities imposed a curfew to stem the violence [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2020

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At least four people were killed and 35 others injured after clashes erupted in Port Sudan.
Clashes between Sudanese tribes in Port Sudan on Sunday left a number of people dead and dozens more wounded, medical sources reported, the latest in a series of outbursts of tribal violence that could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy.

At least four people were killed and 35 others injured "as a result of the unfortunate events of tribal nature in some residential neighbourhoods in Port Sudan", the Central Sudan Doctors Committee said on Sunday, noting all the victims were shot using live ammunition.

The statement said "the Security Committee of the Red Sea State declared a state of emergency and a curfew from five in the evening until six in the morning, starting from Sunday in the affected neighborhoods", calling on all doctors to present themselves at the hospital to assist in treating the injured.

Images that surfaced online showed smoke billowing above the city, with activists reporting sounds of live ammunition as well as fires across residential neighbourhoods.

In May, Sudanese authorities said tribal clashes killed three people and wounded at least 79 others in the country's east.

The fighting in the city of Kassalla first erupted between the Bani Amer tribe and the Nuba tribe, according to Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Babaker, the governor of Kassalla province.

Babaker said clashes flared up again over the weekend, with many houses set on fire before authorities deployed troops to restore security in the city. At least 59 people from the two sides were arrested. The three deaths from the May clashes and were all members of the Bani Amer tribe.

Tribal clashes across Sudan pose a significant challenge to efforts by the transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in some areas. The country is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir last year. A military-civilian government is now in power.

In an address to the nation in May, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, vowed the military and other security agencies would act decisively "to secure the country, lives and property".

"We all would stand united against the plotters who are the enemies of the people ... and the enemies of the people’s glorious revolution," Burhan said. He was apparently referring to Islamists and those allied with the regime of former regime of al-Bashir.

Tensions between the Bani Amer and Nuba tribes - mainly over water but also other resources - started in May last year the eastern city of al-Qadarif, where seven people were killed. The fighting was renewed again in August in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, killing over three dozen people.

Also in May, tribal clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs in the province of South Darfur left at least 30 people dead and a dozen wounded, authorities said.

Read also: In-depth : Sudan's year long march to democracy and reform

A key priority of Sudan's military-civilian government has been ending the insurgencies in the country's far-flung provinces in order to slash military spending, which takes up much of the national budget. Rebel groups have for months engaged in talks with the transitional authorities to establish peace.

Tensions between the Arab and non-Arab tribes date back to the Darfur conflict that began in 2003, when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination.

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