At least 20 people, including women and children, have been shot dead by members of a paramilitary group in southern Sudan, a tribal source says.
The victims were those who were visiting farmers in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region for the first time in years, said Ibrahim Ahmad, a tribal chief, on Saturday.
“Two months ago, the government organized a meeting between the original landowners and those who took their fields” during the long-running war in Darfur, he further told AFP.
“An agreement was reached whereby the landowners would return to their fields — but armed men came on Friday and opened fire, killing 20 people, including two women and children”, Ahmad added.
The deadly attack occurred in Aboudos, some 90 kilometers south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur province, the tribal chief further said, adding that a number of other people also sustained injury in the raid.
He also warned that the death toll could increase as some of the wounded were in critical condition.
The deadly attack in the flashpoint region took place a week after government-linked armed groups raided a protest camp in North Darfur, killing 13 people, said Mohamed Abdel-Rahman al-Nayer, a spokesman for a rebel group known as the so-called Sudan Liberation Movement.
Tribal war is raging in several places of Darfur as a result of conflicts over land, resources, and grazing zones.
In April, at least 132 people were killed in West Darfur in fighting between members of the Massalit tribe and Arab communities, forcing authorities to impose a state of emergency.
According to the United Nations, at least 200 people were killed and 240 wounded, and about 116,000 were displaced as a result of tribal clashes in January alone in South and West Darfur.
The fighting killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the UN.
Darfur’s conflict surged in 2003 when then-president Omar al-Bashir’s government empowered Arab militias to battle rebel groups, which resulted in the death of 300,000 people and the displacement of 2.5 million others, according to the UN.
Violence intensified across Sudan after al-Bashir was overthrown in April 2019, following mass protests against his rule.
The transitional government has since negotiated with the rebel groups, but a peace deal has proved elusive.
For the past several months, rebel groups from Darfur and southern Sudan have engaged in peace talks. As part of a wider effort to hold former officials to account, the public prosecutor has pledged to investigate purported atrocities in Darfur.
However, sporadic violence continues, with each fresh attack fueling fears that ruling authorities might not deliver on their promises.