Ethnic fighting in Port Sudan leaves 25 dead

Port Sudan, the Red Sea state capital (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

August 12, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – Tribal clashes that have gripped a Sudanese port city over the past three days have killed at least 25 people and wounded scores, a doctors’ association said on Wednesday.

The fighting in Port Sudan in the eastern province of Red Sea erupted earlier this week between the Beni Amer tribe and the displaced Nuba tribe. It wasn’t the first time the two tribes clashed in Port Sudan or elsewhere in the county.

The clashes prompted local authorities on Tuesday to impose a round-the-clock curfew across the city. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Wednesday that troops have been deployed to Port Sudan to help contain the fighting.

He urged political parties in eastern Sudan to cooperate with local authorities to “protect security and social peace.”

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee said the clashes continued until late Tuesday. The death toll climbed to 25, after 13 people were initially reported killed on Tuesday, it said. At least 87 others were wounded.

The committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association that spearheaded nationwide protests against longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir. The military ousted al-Bashir amid the protests in April last year.

Local media reported that several houses and shops were set on fire amid the violence in Port Sudan.

The tensions between the two tribes date back to May 2019 in the eastern city of Qadarif, mainly over water and other resources. The clashes flared up in August last year in Port Sudan, when at least three dozen people from both sides were killed. They also clashed in January in the port city, when nine people were killed.

The tribal violence poses a significant challenge to efforts of Sudan’s transitional authorities to stabilize the country amid a fragile transition to democracy.