(AFP) – May 28, 2009
KHARTOUM (AFP) — Clashes between two major Arab nomadic tribes in Sudan's South Kordofan region this past week have killed 244 people, including police officers, Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamad said Thursday.
"The toll of victims is 89 dead among the Misseriya, 80 among the Rizeqat and 75 in the central reserve (police)," he told a cabinet meeting in Khartoum, the official Suna press agency reported.
Those responsible will be brought to justice and the authorities will take steps to disarm civilians, he added.
Members of the Misseriya and Rizeyqat tribes clashed last weekend near the village of Meiram, near the border between South Kordofan and Darfur, more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) southwest of the capital Khartoum.
Sudanese police moved in on Tuesday to break up the fighting but were themselves attacked by 3,000 Arab horsemen from the Rizeyqat tribe.
That attack led to the deaths of several police officers and civilians, said the minister.
Sources among the two tribes told AFP that at least a hundred people had died in the fighting, while local newspapers reported more than 150 killed.
The two tribes, who live on either side of the border dividing South Kordofan and Darfur, have clashed in the past over access to drinking water for their horses and their livestock.
This week, the authorities called on both sides to pull back five kilometres to avoid fresh fighting.
"The situation worries us a lot because the incidents took place in a sensitive sector," Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman of the United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan, told AFP.
South Kordofan, which lies between Darfur and South Sudan, is one of the most unstable parts of the country.
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