Geneva – After dozens of people were killed and injured in Sudan’s southeastern Blue Nile state, Sudanese authorities should take effective measures to control tribal violence in the country and ensure the rule of law, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.
Euro-Med Monitor has followed with deep regret the tribal clashes in the Blue Nile state in the southeast of Sudan, near the Ethiopian border. At its peak during the past two days, the violence led to the death of 60 people and the injury of more than 157 others, as well as the burning and damaging of dozens of shops and other properties.
The tension in the Blue Nile state began last Saturday in the localities of Qessan, Er Roseires, and Wad al Mahi. It escalated significantly on 13 July, after the killing of a farmer in the Adassi area of the town of Qessan, west of Blue Nile. The tension reached its peak on Friday 15 July during a limited security operation, which failed to control the situation until after several days later, when heavy human and material losses had already been incurred.
For days, Sudanese authorities clearly failed to control matters and impose the rule of law, as they did not move quickly enough to contain the unrest and manage the security situation. The authorities delayed addressing the situation until Friday, when they finally took measures that included—according to a statement issued by the Blue Nile state government—imposing a partial curfew in the localities of Ad-Damazin and Er Roseires, deploying a police force reinforced by army units and the Rapid Support Forces, arresting some suspects, and taking the necessary legal measures.
Euro-Med Monitor reviewed photos and videos published by local activists showing the vandalism and looting of shops in the town of Er Roseires, right before the eyes of the Sudanese police, who for unknown reasons did not intervene to stop the violence.
About a month ago, local forces had warned of the possibility of a violent outbreak, as the state witnessed a significant escalation of racist discourse among social groups; some tribes had demanded representation in the state's civil administration hierarchy. Sudanese authorities did not show much interest in addressing these problems, which contributed greatly to the ignition of violence.
Tribal violence in Sudan is a recurring problem that needs a radical solution, not temporary measures. The recurrence of such violence is difficult to control and prevent without addressing its root causes and creating a state of consensus, whereby all parties commit not to resort to violence, and to resolving problems through specific, peaceful, and non-violent mechanisms.
In April, the Kerenik area in West Darfur witnessed violent tribal clashes, which led to the death of 159 people and the injury of several others, in addition to the displacement of thousands more from their homes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Euro-Med Monitor stresses the need for radical solutions to tribal violence in Sudan, including effective mechanisms to ensure that tribal disputes are not used within the context of the country's political conflict, and the implementation of a national action plan to protect civilians and ensure the rule of law.
The absence of civil rule since the Sudanese army seized power last October has exacerbated political and economic problems, and paved the way for tribal conflicts and disputes in the country. The Sudanese army should return to the democratic path that supports fair and equitable representation for all segments of society.
Sudanese authorities must conduct an urgent, independent investigation into the violence in the Blue Nile state, hold all those involved accountable, and ensure justice is served to the victims and their families.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on the Sudanese authorities to assume their responsibilities in maintaining security, take the necessary measures to protect civilians and their interests, respond more quickly and effectively to incidents of tribal violence, and investigate the absence and/or delay of security interventions to impose the rule of law during clashes in the Blue Nile state.