Two warring tribes in Sudan’s Darfur region have signed a United Nations-facilitated reconciliation agreement aimed at ending nearly four months of violent clashes that have killed more than 200 people and displaced hundreds of others from their villages.
Representatives of the Misseriya and Rezeigat Nouaiba tribes signed the deal yesterday in Zalingei, a major town in West Darfur state, according to a press release issued by the joint African Union-UN Mission peacekeeping force in the region, known as UNAMID.
Sporadic clashes between the two groups first erupted in early March, with the most recent outbreak occurring last week in two villages not far from Zalingei. The latest fighting reportedly killed 20 people.
UNAMID, the Darfur Peace and Reconciliation Council and local leaders and native administrations set up a reconciliation committee earlier this year to try to end the fighting, and a conference was also held last month in Zalingei as part of efforts to tackle the root causes of the conflict.
Tribal clashes in Darfur are often based around disputes over access to scarce resources in the arid and remote region, which lies on Sudan’s western flank.
In the past seven years an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others have been displaced as a result of fighting between rebels and Government forces backed by allied Janjaweed militiamen. All sides are accused of serious human rights violations.
UNAMID has been in place since the start of 2008, succeeding an earlier AU-only mission in the war-torn region. Its headquarters are in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher.