IP - Two days of tribal fighting in Sudan’s south killed at least 220 people, a senior health official said Sunday, marking one the deadliest bouts of tribal violence in recent years.

Iran PressAfrica: Fighting in Blue Nile province, which borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, reignited earlier this month over a land dispute. It pits the Hausa tribe, with origins across West Africa, against the Berta people.

The tensions escalated Wednesday and Thursday in the town of Wad el-Mahi on the border with Ethiopia, according to Fath Arrahman Bakheit, the director general of the Health Ministry in the Blue Nile.

He told The Associated Press that officials counted at least 220 dead as of Saturday night, adding that the tally could be much higher since medical teams could not reach the epicenter of the fighting.

Many houses were burned down in the fighting, which displaced some 7,000 people to the city of Rusyaris.

According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, others fled to neighboring provinces.

It said that about 211,000 people had been displaced by tribal violence and other attacks across the country this year.

Authorities ordered a nighttime curfew in Wad el-Mahi and deployed troops to the area.

Local media reported that angry protesters on Sunday took to the streets of Damazin, the provincial capital of the Blue Nile, to denounce the tribal violence and the government’s response to the clashes.

Some protesters stormed the headquarters of the local government.

Footage shared online shows plumes of smoke rising from the building.

The online news website, Monte Carro, reported that protesters also stormed a military facility in Damazin. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The two groups fighting erupted in mid-July, killing at least 149 people as of October. It triggered violent protests and stoked tensions between the two tribes in the Blue Nile and other provinces.

The latest fighting comes at a critical time for Sudan, just a few days before the first anniversary of a military coup that further plunged the country into turmoil.

It triggered nearly weekly anti-coup protests in the capital of Khartoum and elsewhere across the country.

Since the coup in October 2021, at least 118 people have been killed in a heavy crackdown on protests, including one protester who was shot dead when security forces violently dispersed a demonstration Sunday in Khartoum, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement.

The military’s takeover derailed the country’s short-lived transition to democracy after nearly three decades of the repressive rule of Omar al-Bashir, who was removed in April 2019 by a popular uprising.


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Death toll from tribal clashes in Sudan's Blue Nile State rises to 65