KHARTOUM (AFP) – At least 18 people have been killed during a tribal dispute in Darfur, a tribal leader said on Tuesday, after donor countries pledged about $1 billion to develop Sudan’s war-ravaged western region.
Trouble began last week in Umm Dukhun district, on the Chad border, when a member of the Misseriya tribe shot a Salamat tribal member, international peacekeepers said.
Musa al-Bashir, a Salamat leader, told AFP a “small difference” between two people escalated into clashes outside Umm Dukhun town.
“Until yesterday the total killed from the Salamat side are 18,” he said.
“Now local leaders from both sides are trying to solve the problem and calm the situation.”
He did not know how many Misseriya were killed but a leader from that tribe said that a total of 11 people, both Salamat and Misseriya, had died as of Monday.
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Monday said it received reports of clashes “with an unspecified number of victims”, after the initial shooting.
Darfur’s top official, Eltigani Seisi, has said that ethnic violence is now the “major issue” in Darfur, replacing rebel attacks.
In February a member of parliament said more than 500 people from his Beni Hussein tribe died during weeks of clashes with the Rezeigat, a rival Arab tribe, in North Darfur’s Jebel Amir area.
These types of conflicts are driven largely by competition for resources such as gold or water, a United Nations official said ahead of the donors’ conference which ended on Monday in the Gulf state of Qatar.
Donors pledged to support a six-year strategy for Darfur’s development which includes strengthening the local government and judicial systems to address the root causes of such conflicts.
The meeting raised $3.6 billion in pledges, including $2.65 billion to which Khartoum is committed, said host country Qatar which contributed $500 million.
In other unrest, rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army faction led by Abdel Wahid Mohammed al-Nur said on Tuesday that their forces attacked three government camps in the Dobo area, southwest of the North Darfur state capital El Fasher.
Each side claimed victory, with the army saying late Monday that it had repulsed a rebel attack on Dobo Madrassa, which is between North and South Darfur.
Nur and other rebels began their uprising a decade ago against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.
While the worst of the violence has long passed, rebel-government battles continue along with inter-Arab battles, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes.