KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s authorities said on Monday they would deploy military forces to West Darfur and suspend peace talks with rebel groups for 24 hours after an outbreak of deadly violence around the regional capital.
There were no details of the scale of the deployment or the clashes around el-Geneina, but information minister Faisal Saleh said the head of Sudan’s transitional ruling council and the prime minister would visit the city. Aircraft would be sent to evacuate the wounded to the capital, Khartoum, he said.
A resident from el-Geneina told Reuters that the violence flared after a soldier from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) was stabbed to death with two of his relatives in apparent retaliation for incidents in which locals had been hit by cars.
On Monday Arab groups responded to the soldier’s death by raiding camps for internally displaced people near el-Geneina, killing people and livestock both in el-Geneina and the camps, the resident said. A second resident confirmed the revenge attacks.
It was unclear how many people had been killed and injured. The regional government declared a curfew across West Darfur.
Sudan’s transitional authorities, who took power after former President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April following a popular uprising, have been holding talks with rebel groups to try to end conflicts in several areas of the country, including Darfur.
Conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against Khartoum. Up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million displaced, according to U.N. estimates.
Government forces and mainly Arab militias known as the Janjaweed — some of whose men were later incorporated in the RSF — were accused of committing atrocities during the conflict, accusations that authorities at the time denied.
Reporting by Ali Mirghani; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Dan Grebler