Deadly Fighting Rocks Sudan’s Darfur After Peacekeeping Mission Ends

Intercommunal fighting has killed more than 120 people in Sudan’s Darfur in recent days, raising fears over the future of the war-torn western region as an international peacekeeping force bows out.

More than 40 people were left dead Monday following clashes between members of the Arab Rezegat tribe and the Falata community around a village in Taweel, an area of South Darfur, according to Adam Osman, a resident reached by phone.

The events followed about three days of separate intercommunal fighting around a displaced persons camp in the state capital of West Darfur in which 83 people were killed, according to a local doctors committee. About 50,000 people fled that violence, with the United Nations secretary-general calling on Sudanese authorities to end the clashes.

A joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur officially ended its mandate Dec. 31, with its personnel now in a six-month draw-down period, turning over the responsibility of protecting civilians to Sudan’s transitional government and affiliated forces.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when insurgents took up arms accusing the government in Khartoum of neglecting the region. Authorities under then-dictator Omar al-Bashir unleashed a brutal counter-insurgency campaign, with as many as 300,000 people killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes due to the violence, according to UN estimates.

Bashir was ousted by the army in April 2019 amid mass protests against his three-decade rule. The transitional government agreed a peace deal with several of the main rebel factions last year, but rivalries between ethnic groups and competition for resources continue to plague the vast territory.

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