Geneva - Sudanese authorities must take serious measures to protect civilians, control tribal violence in the country, and ensure that the rule of law is implemented after hundreds of people were killed and injured in the most recent rounds of violence in the Blue Nile state, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.
Euro-Med Monitor has followed with great regret the death of 223 people, the injury of dozens more, and the displacement of thousands as a result of tribal violence in the Blue Nile state in southeast Sudan, near the Ethiopian border.
After weeks of relative calm, the region experienced a resurgence of violent clashes in September which resulted in the deaths of seven people and the injury of many more. The events began to unfold on Monday (17 October) and escalated into full-blown clashes on Wednesday (19 October) in the Wad al Mahi area of Ad-Damazin, amid a near-total lack of security services.
Given the bloodshed, the governor of Blue Nile state on Friday declared a 30-day state of emergency, granting security forces full authority to stop the tribal fighting. In addition, he directed local police, army, and intelligence officials, as well as the Rapid Support Forces, to intervene with all available means to put an end to the tribal fighting.
The grim progression of recent events is evidence of a pattern. Repeated rounds of violence and the periodic deaths of large numbers of people are a natural consequence of insufficient security measures, and of government authorities’ failure to control matters by imposing the rule of law, taking prompt action, and finding radical solutions to ongoing disputes. Moreover, part of the conflict stems from systematic discrimination and racism, as one of the tribes involved is barred from owning land in the Blue Nile.
Tribal violence in Sudan is a recurring problem that needs a radical solution, not temporary measures. Such violence is difficult to prevent and control without addressing its root causes and creating a state of consensus, whereby all parties commit to resolve problems through specific, peaceful, and non-violent mechanisms.
According to UN estimates, the most recent rounds of violence began in July, when 149 people were killed, hundreds more were injured, and approximately 65,000 people were displaced. Last April, 159 people were killed and thousands displaced from their homes in Kreinik, a city in Sudan’s West Darfur region.
Euro-Med Monitor stresses the need for comprehensive solutions to tribal violence in Sudan, including effective mechanisms to implement a national action plan to protect civilians, ensure the rule of law, and see to it that tribal disputes are not factors that affect the country’s political process.
The absence of civil rule since the Sudanese army seized power in October 2021 has exacerbated existing political and economic problems and paved the way for tribal conflicts and disputes in the country. The Sudanese army should return to the democratic path—one that supports fair and equitable representation for all segments of society.
Sudanese authorities must conduct an urgent, independent investigation into the violence in the Blue Nile state, hold all those involved accountable, and ensure justice is served to the victims and their families.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on Sudanese authorities to assume their responsibilities in taking necessary measures to protect civilians and their interests by maintaining security, responding quickly and effectively to outbreaks of tribal violence, and investigating the absence of or delay in security interventions to impose the rule of law during clashes in the Blue Nile state.