Inter-communal clashes in the Sudanese state of West Darfur have left at least 132 dead in recent days, its governor said Thursday.
Members of the Massalit and Arab communities have been fighting since Saturday in and around the state capital El-Geneina, exchanging gunfire and heavy weapons.
The Sudanese government has declared a state of emergency in the region.
“According to medical reports, the death toll is now 132,” Mohammed Abdallah Douma, the governor of the border region of Chad, told a press conference in Khartoum.
“The situation is now relatively stable,” he said, adding that there was “looting” but “no more fighting”.
Douma blamed the fighting on militia fighters who had passed through neighboring Chad and Libya and used heavy weapons.
But the UN said the conflict pitted Massalit in Sudan against Arab communities, the latest in a series of clashes since January, which has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes.
Sudan is in the midst of a difficult transition after the overthrow of longtime President Omar Bashir in April 2019, following mass protests against his regime.
The transitional government has pushed for peace building with rebel groups in major conflict areas in Sudan, including Darfur, where UN peacekeepers have recently been withdrawn.
Thousands of people fled the latest outbreak of violence, some fled to Chad, according to the UN.
The clashes saw a destroyed power station, an ambulance attacked, and a rocket-propelled grenade hit Sultan Tajeldin’s key hospital.
The vast region of Darfur was ravaged by a civil war that erupted in 2003, leaving an estimated 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
It erupted when ethnic minority rebels rose up against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.
Khartoum responded by releasing a notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed, recruited from among the nomadic tribes of the region.
The conflict has subsided over the years and the last in a series of peace deals was reached in October.
But after years of conflict, the region is inundated with automatic weapons and clashes still erupt, often over land and access to water.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide during the conflict in Darfur.