A Sudanese boy walks through the impoverished Wad el Bashier camp for internally displaced persons on the outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan Sunday 10 October 2004. EPA/FILE/NIC BOTHMA

Tribal clashes in Darfur kill at least 120

Khartoum, Aug 12 (EFE).- At least 120 people have died in clashes between Arab tribes in the restive region of Darfur in western Sudan, security sources said on Saturday.

The casualties occurred in the past three days amid an ongoing dispute over the alliances of these tribes amid a battle for power between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces.

A security source who requested anonymity told EFE that the clashes in Darfur, which began on Thursday, “have caused at least 120 deaths and left dozens injured.”

The source said the conflict erupted after armed men from the Salamat tribe, an Arab clan, entered the house of a tribal chief earlier in the week and stole a vehicle.

Fights of the Beni Halba clan, also an Arab tribe, killed three assailants.

The clashes between the Salamat and Beni Halba tribes spread in an area near the Chad border.

The area is witnessing a hectic movement of displaced people crossing over to the other side of the border to escape the Sudan conflict.

Clashes also broke out between the Salamat and another Arab tribe, the Habaniya that fought against the non-Arab, Masalit clan.

The African clan is one of the few that supports the army in the war with the paramilitary force.

The Masalits alleged that the paramilitaries were carrying out ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

Salah Abdula, tribal leader of Gereida in South Darfur, told EFE that the clashes between Salamat and Beni Halba left 100 dead.

Six lost their lives in clashes between Habaniya and the Masalit, while another 14 died in the fighting between Habaniya and Salamat.

Abdula indicated that “several fighters” from Beni Halba and Salamat have moved from Khartoum to join their tribes in the armed clashes.

Arab tribes in South Darfur accuse the army of instigating tribal clashes in the region.

The Arab tribes threw their weight behind the paramilitary group in June in its battle for power against the Sudanese army.

The clans also believe the army is instigating clashes to compel tribal fighters in Khartoum to return to Darfur and leave their ranks in the capital, where the force is advancing to take control.

Various organizations, including the UN, have expressed concern that the conflict in Darfur could escalate into a civil war. EFE