At least 37 killed as tribal clashes grip Port Sudan

At least 37 killed as tribal clashes grip Port Sudan
Around 200 people have been injured so far in the clashes which have centered on the country's east.
3 min read
26 August, 2019
The tribes also clashes earlier this year [AFP]

Clashes between two Sudanese tribes in the country’s east have killed at least 37 people and wounded some 200 others, medics linked to Sudan's protest movement said on Monday.

Sudan activated a state of emergency in Port Sudan on Sunday in response to the deadly violence between the Nuba and Bani Amer tribes.

The conflict broke out in Port Sudan, the capital of the Red Sea state and Sudan's main port city, on Wednesday last week. 

It is not yet clear what triggered the clashes but an activist on social media last week posited that the favouring of the Bani Amer tribe by former President Omar al-Bashir's regime may have led to retributive violence from the Nuba.

Sources speaking to Middle East Eye reported that, while allegiances to Bashir's regime may play a role, the current violence had evolved from "criminal gang" violence in the wake of a security vacuum in the region.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said on Monday that at least 37 people had been killed in a statement listing casualties at three hospitals in Port Sudan.

Around 201 have been injured in the clashes so far, according to the CCSD, a pro-democracy doctors committee which has documented protester deaths since December.

Sudanese authorities on Sunday put the death toll at 16 and said forces had been dispatched to contain the fighting.

The high death toll is reportedly caused by the use of firearms.

Social media activists also reported the widespread burning of homes in Port Sudan on Monday.

Sudan's transitional ruling body dismissed the governor of the Red Sea state and the head of its security apparatus on Sunday in response to the violence.

Independent Sudanese news outlet Ayin Network called the move the transitional government's "first directive against the old regime".

The governor was "suspected of fanning the flames in an ethnic dispute between Nuba and Bani Amer ethnicities using divide and conquer tactics", it said in a tweet on Monday.

Tribal and ethnic tensions are often reported in several regions of Sudan, and divisions between Arab and non-Arab tribes formed the basis of the infamous Darfur conflict.

Similar clashes between the same two tribes were reported in Gadarif in May and in Khashm el-Girba in June.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall and flash floods have killed 62 people in Sudan and left 98 others injured, the official SUNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Sudan has been hit by torrential rains since the start of July, affecting nearly 200,000 people in at least 15 states across the country including the capital Khartoum.

The worst affected area is the White Nile state in the south.

Flooding of the Nile river remains "the biggest problem", SUNA said, citing a health ministry official.

On Friday the UN said more than 37,000 homes had been destroyed or damaged, quoting figures from the government body it partners with in the crisis response.

"Humanitarians are concerned by the high likelihood of more flash floods," the UN said, adding that the rainy season was expected to last until October.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said an extra $150 million were needed from donors to respond to surging waters, in addition to the $1.1 billion required for the overall humanitarian situation in Sudan.