Death toll from ethnic clashes in Sudan rises to 105

Ethnic clashes in Sudan’s Blue Nile state have left 105 people dead and 291 injured in a land dispute, the state health minister said, releasing new casualty figures Wednesday.

Fighting broke out in the southern state on the border with Ethiopia and South Sudan on July 11 between representatives of the Berti and Hausa ethnic groups.

“The situation is calm now,” state health minister Jamal Nasser told AFP by phone from the state capital, Al Damazin, about 460 kilometers (285 miles) south of Khartoum.

The deployment of the army has eased the fighting since Saturday, he said.

“Now the challenge is to shelter the displaced,” Nasser said.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that more than 17,000 people had fled their homes from the fighting, with 14,000 of them “taking refuge in three schools in Al Damazin.”

Between January and March of this year, 563,000 people were assisted in the Blue Nile, according to the UN.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, mired in an economic crisis that worsened after the October coup led by army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has seen only rare periods of civilian rule since independence.

Bloody clashes regularly take place in Sudan over land, livestock, access to water and pastures, especially in areas still awash with weapons from decades of civil war.

Fighting in Blue Nile reportedly broke out after Bertis denied a Hausa request for a “civilian body to oversee land access,” said a prominent Hausa member.

But senior leader Bertie said the group was reacting to the “disturbance” of their Hausa land.

While the fighting reportedly ended and relative calm returned to the Blue Nile, tensions escalated in other states, where the Hausa people took to the streets demanding “justice for the martyrs.”

On Tuesday, thousands of people protested in Khartoum, North Kordofan, Kassala, Gedaref and Port Sudan, according to AFP correspondents.