Tribal clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region on Saturday left at least two people dead and several buildings burned, in the latest violence to hit the remote region, state media reported.
The fighting broke out over a dispute between members of different tribes in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the argument.
“Violence erupted following a quarrel between two people, leaving two dead, others injured and several houses burned,” SUNA news agency reported.
“The governor of West Darfur issued a decision to allow security to use force to contain the violence in El Geneina,” it added.
The Darfur Lawyers Association, a local civil society group, said armed militias “took advantage” of the dispute and escalated the violence.
“The armed militias spread panic in and around the city… they also carried out all kinds of human rights violations,” it said in a statement.
SUNA reported that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok ordered a “high-profile” delegation be sent to West Darfur to follow up on the situation.
The vast Darfur region was the scene of a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003, leaving around 300,000 people killed and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.
The fighting erupted when ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which responded by recruiting and arming notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed.
The conflict has subsided over the years but ethnic and tribal clashes still periodically flare in the region over land and access to water.
These clashes often pit nomadic Arab pastoralists against settled farmers from non-Arab ethnic groups.
Sudan is in the midst of a rocky transitional period following the toppling of long-time president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 off the back of mass protests against his rule.
The transitional government has pushed to build peace with rebel groups in Sudan’s main conflict zones, including Darfur.
But two rebel groups refused to join a recent peace deal, including the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Nour, which is believed to maintain considerable support in Darfur.
On December 31, the UN and African Union ended a 13-year peacekeeping mission in Darfur, even as residents feared further violence in the region.