At least 125 people have been killed in Darfur as fresh violence rocked the southwestern region of Sudan amid warnings from the United Nations.
Some 50,000 people are reportedly displaced following the fighting that first erupted on June 6 and has been ongoing between the Gimir tribe and the Arab Rizeigat tribe in the Kulbus area, 160km northeast of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the dead included more than 100 from Gimir and 25 from the Rizeigat, adding that the clashes also resulted in the injury of more than 130 others, mostly Gimirs.
The UN said that at least 25 villages in the Kulbus area were attacked, burnt and looted.
The body count came as the US Embassy in Khartoum on Tuesday called on authorities to protect civilians and to hold accountable those responsible for the violence.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of Unitams, Volker Peretz, said he is “once again appalled by the violence in Kulbus, West Darfur, which resulted in a high number of casualties.” He also called on the authorities, tribal leaders and armed organisations to de-escalate.
“The cycle of violence in Darfur is unacceptable & highlights root causes that must be addressed,” he said on Twitter.
The clashes arose from a dispute over land ownership, which the Arab Rizeigat tribe says began after members of the Gimir community attacked a Rizeigat farmer while he ploughed.
Usually, most disputes in Darfur are over property rights and grazing lands between pastoralists and farmers.
Muhammad Othman Hashem, one of the civil society leaders in Darfur, denounced the silence of officials in the region and the State following the bloodbath.
In April, about 200 people were killed in clashes between an Arab community and the non-Arab Massalit minority in the Krink area of West Darfur. The mainly Arab Janjaweed militia was accused of orchestrating the attack on the Massalit villages.
Many of the militia are integrated into the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, de facto deputy leader of Sudan. On May 3, Mr Daglo pledged to hold to account those involved in the violence even if they belong to the Rapid Support Forces.
Sudan's western Darfur region was ravaged by a bitter civil war that erupted in 2003.
In 2020, Sudan signed a peace deal with key rebel groups including those from Darfur. The main conflict has subsided over the years, but the region remains awash with weapons and deadly clashes often erupt over access to pasture or water.
-Additional reporting by AFP