At least 151 people killed in renewed violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile state

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At least 151 people were killed and 86 injured in fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile state over recent days, medical sources said on Thursday, the latest outbreak of violence to rock remote conflict-weary regions.

Despite a peace deal signed in 2020 with some of Sudan’s rebel groups in the western Darfur region and in Blue Nile and southern Kordofan, tribal fighting has steadily increased.

Analysts blame the fighting on unresolved issues of land and citizenship as well as the militarisation of tribal groups. It threatens to further destabilise the country which has been in political and economic turmoil since the military seized power and disbanded a civilian-led government a year ago.

Blue Nile state had seen tribal clashes over land disputes in July, and a flare-up in September, resulting in 149 people killed and almost 65 000 displaced by earlier this month, the United Nations said.

That violence was renewed one week ago, on October 13, with fighting involving the Hausa and Hamaj tribes in addition to others in the Wad Almahi area over several days, the UN said in a separate statement on Thursday.

Witnesses told Reuters that clashes continued on Wednesday. Medical sources told Reuters those killed included women and children, with signs of bullet wounds, burning, and stabbing.

Earlier this week, violence had flared in another southern province, West Kordofan, following a tribal dispute over land. The Sudanese military accused the rebel group led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, who did not sign the agreement, of exacerbating the conflict, while his group in a statement accused the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The UN said that at least 36 500 had fled Lagowa, the site of the violence, and that 19 were killed and 34 injured.

“Sustainable peace won’t be possible without a fully functional credible government that prioritises local communities’ needs including security [and] addresses the root causes of conflict,” the UN’s special mission said in a tweet commenting on the incidents in both states.