Rizeigat-Maalia conflict worsens in Darfur
The increasing fighting in Darfur between Rizeigat and Maalia, both of them Arab groups who also reflect divisions between the Sudan Government and the armed group in the area, the SLA/MM, shows the bankruptcy of the Government’s policies in Darfur and the failure of UNAMID as a peace-broker. Only reconciliation through normal reconciliation channels after an immediate cease fire can end the conflict, said SUDO (UK) .
The serious fighting on 11 August described in the last SUDO Update has continued. A large number of Rizeigat attacked the Maalia 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 Maalia, while dozens from both sides were injured. The Maalia are said to have retreated to the Adola Mountains.
At the moment, on 12 August, the Governor of East Darfur, Abdelhamid Musa Kasha, is under siege in Adila, a Maalia centre, surrounded by angry Maalia 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 big hostile gathering of Maalia while he was meeting the Commissioner of the area. Elders from Maalia 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 apparently being surrounded by a crowd of Maalia threatening to kill him in order to avenge the killings of the past few days. The Maalia are accusing the East Darfur government of siding with the Rizeigat, supporting them with the army and police and using government vehicles and weapons. Some Maalia accuse the army and police of carrying out the killings themselves.
Meanwhile on 12 August Rizeigat attacked and set on fire the Maalia village of Dar al-Salam which was deserted by its Maalia inhabitants at the time. The Rizeigat are claiming that the Maalia 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 Maalia side.
SUDO UK) calls on Rizeigat and Maalia 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 Maalia 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.