Conflicts & War

Return of ethnic clashes in Sudan threaten democratic transition

By Al Nur al Zaki

Khartoum, May 21 (efe-epa).- Dozens of people have died and hundreds have been displaced this month amid a resurgence of ethnic violence in various regions of Sudan, making a democratic transition an even bigger challenge.

At a time when the government is trying to broker deals with different armed groups, ethnic clashes have reemerged in what some see as the dark shadow left by former President Omar al Bashir’s regime and others as a reflection of a weakened and battered state.

Last week, more than 30 people died and dozens were injured in a dispute between the Muslim Rizeigat and the Falata Umbroro tribes in the state of South Darfur (west) that began, as is often the case, over allegations of cattle theft.

On 8 May a clash between the Arabic-speaking Beni-Amer people and the Nuba tribe in the state of Kassala (east) left around 20 dead and 20 wounded.

The violence erupted in a local market.

Four days later in the state of South Kordofan authorities had to impose a curfew after violence erupted in the city of Kadugli leaving over 40 civilians and several members of Sudan’s armed forces dead, and 60 wounded.

These incidents are the first of this scale since the overthrow of Al Bashir in April 2019, who during his three decades in power was accused of exploiting tribal rivalries, specifically in the Darfur region, the scene of a brutal conflict between 2003 and 2008.

The conflict between the Beni-Amer people and the Nuba tribe dates back to the 1980s a researcher and expert from western Sudan, Ozman Faqray, told Efe.

Then-President Jaafar al Nimeiri promulgated Islamic law in Sudan and groups and individuals from certain tribes joined a campaign “against alcohol and vice”.

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