Ethnic clashes in southern Sudan leave 18 dead: government agency

Fresh clashes between the Hausa (people) and Blue Nile communities in Sudan have claimed the lives of 18 people.

The clashes were concentrated around the village of East Ganis and the town of Roseires. [AFP via Getty Images]

Fresh ethnic clashes in Blue Nile state in southern Sudan have left 18 people dead, a government aid agency said on Friday, despite a ceasefire agreement between rival groups following violence killers a few weeks ago.

“The region has witnessed further clashes between the Hausa (people) and Blue Nile communities,” the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission said in a statement.

“Eighteen deaths have been recorded so far and 23 injured,” he said, adding that thousands of people had fled.

The violence erupted on Thursday afternoon “without any clear reason and despite sincere efforts by the government to stop hostilities”, the official SUNA news agency said on Friday.

The fighting has been concentrated around the village of East Ganis and the town of Roseires, SUNA added, citing a statement from the Blue Nile Security Service.

“The situation is very bad now, fires and gunshots everywhere,” Hussein Moussa, a resident of a village east of Roseires, told AFP.

In July, fighting in the area pitted the Hausa people against rival groups, including the Barta, leaving at least 105 people dead and dozens injured.

The clashes erupted after Hausa members demanded the creation of a “civil authority” that rival groups saw as a way to gain access to land.

The violence has displaced some 31,000 people, many of whom have sought refuge in schools that have been turned into camps for the displaced.

The clashes have also sparked angry protests across Sudan, with Hausa demanding justice for those killed.

Other protests have called for “unity” and “an end to tribalism” in the impoverished country in northeast Africa.

In late July, senior leaders of the rival groups agreed to cease hostilities.

The latest violence comes as Sudan reels from worsening political unrest and a spiraling economic crisis since last year’s military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The military takeover upended a transition to civilian rule launched after the 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for three decades.

The country has since been rocked by near-weekly protests and a violent crackdown that has killed more than 100 people, according to pro-democracy doctors.

In July, Burhan pledged in a televised address to stand down and give way to Sudanese factions to agree on a civilian government.