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Sudan's Darfur region: 'More than 80 killed' in clashes

The number of people killed in clashes between different ethnic groups in Sudan's West Darfur state has risen to 83, a medical body has said.

The fighting in the state capital, El Geneina, began on Saturday after a row in which a man was stabbed to death.

A state-wide curfew has been imposed and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has sent a delegation to investigate.

A conflict in Darfur that began in 2003 forced millions to flee and, despite a peace process, tensions remain.

Saturday's violence comes less than three weeks after peacekeepers from the United Nations and African Union handed over security to the Khartoum authorities after 13 years there, reports the BBC's Youssef Taha.

Similar clashes in El Geneina last year, which saw Arab pastoralists fight with non-Arab groups, caused hundreds of casualties.

The most recent fighting was centred around a camp for people who had been displaced by the Darfur conflict. A deadly row between two men escalated into a fight involving armed militias, the AFP news agency reports.

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said the death toll had risen from 48 to 83, and the number of wounded from around 100 to 160.

Members of the armed forces were among the victims, it said.

Casualties were likely to rise further as fighting was continuing, the medical body added.

The government said on Sunday that troop reinforcements would be sent to the area

The announcement was made after army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met top security officials to discuss the violence.

A peace deal involving most, but not all, groups in Darfur was signed last year.

The Darfur conflict began under the presidency of Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in 2019 and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide in the region.

Justice for the people of Darfur was a key rallying cry for civilian groups who backed the ouster of the president after nearly three decades in power.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which was at the forefront of the anti-Bashir movement, called for the current transitional government to deal with the "unruly armed groups which have been freely moving and terrorising civilians since the collapse of the former regime", Sudan's news agency reports.

© 2021 BBC.

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