CAIRO (HPD) — Days of tribal clashes in southern Sudan have killed 19 people and injured dozens, two Sudanese officials said Thursday, in the latest outbreak of violence to hit the southern African country in recent months.
The officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the clashes broke out Wednesday and there have been no reports that they have ended.
South Kordofan province has been rocked in recent months by ethnic violence. Fighting that broke out between two tribal groups in Blue Nile state in July had killed 149 people by October. In the last week, new clashes in the region have killed another 13 people, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
OCHA could not confirm the new increase in violence or casualties, but said the clashes have displaced at least 1,200 people since last week.
Earlier on Thursday, the UN agency said tribal clashes in West Kordofan’s stadium that broke out last week killed 19 people and injured dozens. The clash between the Misseriya and Nuba ethnic groups arose over a dispute over land near the town of Al Lagowa, according to OCHA.
On Tuesday, the state governor visited the city to talk to residents in an effort to de-escalate the conflict before coming under artillery fire from a nearby mountainous area, OCHA said. There were no reports of casualties in the incident.
“The fighting in West Kordofan and Blue Nile states creates the risk of further displacement and human suffering,” OCHA said.
On Wednesday, the Sudanese army accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Sector, a rebel group active in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, of launching the attack in Al Lagowa. The rebel group has not responded to the accusation.
The violence forced 36,500 people to flee Al Lagowa, while many of those who stayed sought refuge at the army base in the town, OCHA said. The area is currently not accessible to humanitarian aid, the agency added.
Many analysts say the rise in violence in the region is the product of a power vacuum caused by last October’s military coup. The violence has also further jeopardized the Sudanese economy, also battered by fuel shortages caused in part by the war in Ukraine.