The death toll from tribal violence that erupted over the weekend in Sudan's Darfur region climbed to 87 on Wednesday as a local medical group also reported attacks on healthcare workers in the area.
The deadly violence poses a challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in areas like Darfur, where conflict often falls along ethnic lines.
The latest bout of fighting grew out of a shooting on Saturday that killed two people from the non-Arab Masalit tribe in a camp for displaced people in Genena, the capital of West Darfur province, according to the U.N. humanitarian affairs agency.
Fighting ensued between the Arab Rizeigat and the Masalit tribes, with both mobilizing armed men. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in West Darfur and deployed more troops in efforts to contain the violence.
The Sudanese doctors’ committee in West Darfur, said it counted at least 37 more fatalities Wednesday, bringing the death toll since Saturday to 87. At least 191 people were wounded.
The group said armed men opened fire Wednesday on vehicles carrying healthcare workers heading to U.N. warehouses in Genena. No causalities were reported from that shooting, it said.
Several health facilities were also attacked, and medical workers still faced difficulties in transporting the wounded to hospitals, the group added.
The clashes forced the U.N. to suspend all humanitarian activities in Genena, which serves as a hub for aid delivery to the conflict-wrecked region.
Violence in Darfur often falls along religious and ethnic lines, with tribes claiming Arab heritage, like the Rizeigat, fighting with those of African descent, such as the Masalit.
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country.