Over 80 people have been killed in two days of ongoing clashes in Sudan's restive Darfur, doctors said yesterday, just over two weeks since a long-running peacekeeping mission ended operations.
The violence is the most significant fighting reported since the signing of a peace agreement in October hoped to end years of war in the vast western region, that has left Darfur awash with weapons.
The violence has reportedly pitted non-Arab and Arab tribes in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.
It was reported to have initially started as a local dispute, before quickly morphing into broader fighting involving armed militias. 160 people were also wounded.
Sudanese authorities have imposed a state-wide curfew in West Darfur.
Yesterday, the head of Sudan's ruling body, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, met top security chiefs to discuss the violence.
Rights groups said the violence hit camps for internally displaced people. "Parts of Kerindig camp were burned, and sustained significant damages forcing people to leave for safe areas," it said in a statement.
On December 31, the hybrid United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) formally ended its operations in the region, 13 years after it came into being.
Fearing deadly violence, Darfur residents held protests in late December against UNAMID's departure.
Darfur was the scene of a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003, leaving around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, the United Nations says. The fighting erupted when ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which responded by recruiting and arming a notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed.