The death toll from ethnic clashes sparked by “land issues” in the latest unrest in Sudan’s south has climbed to 13, the United Nations said Monday, warning the situation remained “tense”.
Fighting broke out Thursday between members of the Hausa people and rival groups, most notably the al-Hamaj, in the Wad al-Mahi village east of the city of Roseires in the southern Blue Nile state.
Clashes were sparked by “a dispute over land issues”, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Monday.
The violence has left “at least 13 people and more than 24 injured,” it said in a report.
Hausa leader Mohamed Noureddine said Monday that “fighting is still ongoing.”
“The Hausa village of Om Derf was attacked… leaving multiple deaths and houses burnt down,” he said, without elaborating.
On Monday, Sudanese authorities imposed an overnight curfew in Wad al-Mahi area, banning gatherings or carrying weapons in the area.
“Security forces have been deployed to the area to defuse the situation, which remains tense and unpredictable with the possibility of revenge attacks at any time,” the UN added.
Fighting between the Hausa people and other groups first broke out in July, with some 149 dead and 124 wounded up until early October, according to a toll reported by OCHA.
Since July, the fighting has forced nearly 65,000 people from their homes, the UN said.
The July clashes erupted after Hausa members requested the creation of a “civil authority”, that rival groups saw as a means of gaining access to land.
The clashes also triggered angry protests across Sudan, with the Hausa people demanding justice for those killed.
By late July, senior leaders agreed to cease hostilities. Despite the deal, clashes broke out again in September.
Sudan is grappling with deepening political unrest and a spiraling economic crisis since last year’s military coup, led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The military power grab upended a transition to civilian rule launched after the 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for three decades.
Over 370 people were killed and more than 177,000 displaced in inter-communal conflicts in Sudan between January and August, according to the UN.