Peace talks are now taking place between the Rizeigat and Ma'alia, whose recent clashes were described in SUDO updates on 11 and 12 August 2013. The reconciliation is being led by elders of other tribes in Darfur and by the Darfur Regional Authority. The armed Rizeigat who were pursuing the Ma'alia have now returned to the area round al-Da’ain.
However the humanitarian aftermath of this conflict is still dire. The fighting that broke out between these two ‘Arab’ groups is part of the continuing Darfur conflict where now, fuelled by easy access to small arms as well as heavy weapons, every quarrel or conflict may become a war causing displacement and disaster to thousands.
The fighting which broke out in early August 2013 in East Darfur (around KileikelAbu Salalma, South Adila and DarEl-Salam), was largely driven by questions of ethnic land ownership and administrative arrangements.
Hundreds of Ma'alia boys, aged 4-15, who lost their fathers in the fighting, survived this campaign by walking dozens of miles through a wildreness where there is little shade and where the rainy season is adding to other difficulties. They have ended up in Abu Karinka, Adila, Bakhet and Abu Jabara, a camp of displaced Ma'alia situated east of al-De’ain, the capital of East Darfur State. The camp has now dozens of boys separated from their families and encampments.
In the past month tens of thousands of Ma'alia, and others living in the area, have been forced to flee their homes, with many seeking refuge in the bush. An estimated 80,000 people in Abu Karinka, Adila, Bakhet and Abu Jabara towns in East Darfur State have been cut off from life-saving assistance due to the Ma'alia and Rizeigat fighting. They are surviving on sharing the rare meals of the community living in these towns who themselves have little enough to eat. They are living without access to clean water, shelter or medical assistance. Throughout the area, since the Darfur conflict began 10 years ago, there has been little development; there are few schools for the children of the host community, let alone the displaced children. There is no humanitarian access for foreign NGOs, and local NGOs are hard-pressed to help all those who need it.
Thousands of people have also fled to the neighbouring state of North Darfur.
The Darfur Peace Agreement signed in 2006 and the recent Doha peace initiative have done nothing to resolve the region’s problems”, a local human rights activist told SUDO.
SUDO (UK) calls on the Sudan Government to immediately ensure aid and medical assistance to all those in East and North Darfur suffering from the recent conflict and to grant full access to local and international organizations.
SUDO (UK) calls on the Sudan Government and the Darfur Regional Authority to implement the promises contained in the Darfur peace agreements they have signed, in particular ensuring reconstruction and speedy development, and promoting justice and reconciliation.