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More than 100 killed in Rizeigat-Ma'alia conflict in South Darfur

11.08.13

After more than 100 have been killed in a conflict over land and cattle in south-eastern Darfur, SUDO called for a ceasefire between the two groups to allow elders, tribal leaders and mediators trusted by both sides to effect a reconciliation. “Above all, civilians, especially the women and children from both sides should be protected”, said Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Chairperson of SUDO (UK).

Both the Rizeigat and the Ma'alia are pastoralists, perceived to be ‘Arab’ tribes, based in East Darfur. The centre of the Rizeigat is in Al Da'ain Town, the capital of East Darfur, while the Ma'alia centre is in Adila, the second largest town after Al Da'ain.

The conflict broke out around the Kilaikil area, north of Al Da'ain, which both groups claim as part of their territory or ‘Dar’.

The conflict escalated when the Ma'alia claimed that five of their men were killed by members of the Rizeigat during the first week of August 2013. As a result the Ma'alia raided the Rizeigat area on 6 August, seizing some 400 head of cattle. The Rizeigat then mobilized themselves to attack Ma'alia camps north of Kelaikil. At that point community elders and leaders intervened and were able to calm the members of the Rizeigat preparing to fight and persuade them to give time to the elders recover the cattle. A settlement was then reached that the Ma'alia should return the cattle.

However, while a group of Ma'alia were leading the cattle to Al Da'ain on 10 August they received information that the Rizeigat had mobilized and were attacking their camps north of Kilaikil. They returned without handing over the cattle. At 3:00pm on 10 August, armed Rizeigat attacked the camps of Ma'alia in Almigailid, north of Kilaikil, and in Dar al-Salam east of Al Da'ain. During the fighting 36 Rizeigat and 77 Ma'alia were said to have been killed and 150 Rizeigat and 50 Ma'alia injured. The injured Rizeigat have been taken to hospital in al-Da’ain and the Ma'alia to El Fasher.

Today (11 August) the fighting may seriously escalate which would definitely lead to more death and injuries.

SUDO UK) calls on Rizaigat and Ma'alia to immediately order a ceasefire and have a period of calm to allow time for the leaders and elders of each side to effect a temporary reconciliation.

SUDO (UK) calls of both sides to hold a peace conference to discuss fully the issues between them and effect a lasting reconciliation. In such a peace conference it is important that women of both the Rizeigat and the Ma'alia be fully represented in order to ensure that a more lasting settlement can be achieved.

SUDO (UK) calls on peacemaking forces within Sudan to help to mediate such a conference and for the Government and the UN to facilitate and fund it.

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