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Rizeigat-Ma'alia conflict worsens in Darfur

12.08.13

The increasing fighting in Darfur between the Rizeigat and the Ma'alia, both of whom are "Arab" groups who further reflect divisions between the Sudanese Government and SLA/MM, exhibits the bankruptcy of the Government’s policies in Darfur, as well as the failure of UNAMID as a peace-broker. SUDO (UK) argues that only reconciliation through traditional channels after an immediate cease fire can end the conflict.

The serious fighting on 11 August described in the last SUDO Update has continued. A large number of Rizeigat attacked the Ma'alia at Abga'ab, 10 Km north of Megailid. According to the latest estimates, some 50 members of the Rizeigat were killed and 20 from the Ma'alia, while dozens from both sides were injured. The Ma'alia are said to have retreated to the Adola Mountains.

As of 12 August, the Governor of East Darfur Abdelhamid Musa Kasha, is under siege in Adila, a Ma'alia centre. He is surrounded by angry Ma'alia youth who are threatening to kill him. The Governor apparently went to Adila in an effort to calm things down and was surrounded by a hostile gathering of Ma'alia whilst he was meeting the Commissioner of the area. Elders from Ma'alia tried to prevent the youth from harming the Governor, but they themselves were injured by the angry crowd.

At the time of writing Kasha, a Rizeigat by origin, is still surrounded by a crowd of Ma'alia threatening to kill him in order to avenge the killings of the past few days. The Ma'alia accuse the East Darfur government of siding with the Rizeigat, supporting them with the army and police, as well as using government vehicles and weapons. Some Ma'alia even accuse the army and police of carrying out the killings themselves.

Meanwhile on 12 August Rizeigat attacked and set fire the Ma'alia village of Dar al-Salam which was deserted by its Ma'alia inhabitants at the time. The Rizeigat are claiming that the Ma'alia are being supported by the Minni Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/MM) and say that SLA/MM forces are fighting on the Ma'alia side.

Recommendations

SUDO UK) calls on Rizeigat and Ma'alia leaders 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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