Reports of Abbala crowds to attack villages’ remains in N. Darfur

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AL-SAREIF BENI HUSSEIN (28 Feb.) - An “uneasy” calm prevails in North Darfur amid reports received by residents of Al-Sareif Beni Hussein that crowds of Abbala tribesmen are preparing to attack and burn the remains of their villages in the nearby area of Al-Hijer.

Al-Hijer, located just 10 kilometers from Al-Sareif city, reportedly witnessed the second wave of the armed conflict between the Arab Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes.

Sources told Radio Dabanga roads in the region remain closed, despite a ceasefire agreement signed on 17 January by the warring parties stipulating they must be reopened.

Tens of thousands of civilians are therefore besieged in Al-Sareif town in dire humanitarian conditions facing severe shortage of food supplies, medicines and other essential goods.

In January, the UN estimated that over 100.000 people fled their home villages in North Darfur as a result of the armed conflict, suggesting this was the biggest forced displacement in Darfur in years.

The displaced, whose villages were burned during the tribal fighting, are reportedly living in schools and government buildings. They told Radio Dabanga to be particularly worried that the food supply they left behind in their villages may be burned down if the Abbala continue with the attacks.

Civilians are urging the government to protect them and international organizations to save the thousands of displaced and open the roads.

Fighting broke out over control of gold mines in Jebel ‘Amer, Al-Sareif Beni Hussein locality, on 5 of January between the Arab Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes.

A Sudanese lawmaker recently announced that 510 people were killed, 865 people were wounded, 15 women were raped, 68 villages were completely burnt down and 120 others were set ablaze since the beginning of the hostilities.

UNAMID and Red Cross announced this week evacuating dozens of wounded patients from Al-Sareif Beni Hussein city to El-Fasher, North Darfur’s capital, including woman and children.