Gunmen attempt to storm governor’s home in violence-hit Darfur

Unknown armed men have attempted to storm the residence of a provincial governor in Sudan’s Darfur region but were repelled by guards, according to officials.

There were no injuries or damage in the attempted attack on West Darfur Governor Mohammed Abdalla al-Douma’s residence in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, but it underscored the heightened tensions in the restive region where a bout of inter-ethnic violence has killed more than 200 people since last week.

A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press news agency that the attackers opened fire on the heavily fortified residence, prompting the guards to return fire. The exchange lasted for more than an hour.

A statement from the governor on Wednesday said the incident sought to create “instability and chaos” in the province.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and the statement, published by the state-run Sudan News Agency (SUNA), did not say who the attackers were.

The governor and his staff are safe and were “unharmed”, the statement added.

Earlier this week, Sudanese government officials visited El Geneina to discuss the recent outbreak of violence with the governor.

The fighting between members of the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the non-Arab Massalit tribe grew out of a fistfight on Friday in a camp for displaced people. Some 159 people on both sides, including women and children, have been killed, according to a statement by the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, a local branch of the country’s doctors’ union.

Among the dead in the West Darfur violence were three aid workers, the United Nations (UN) humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Babacar Cisse, said on Wednesday.

He called for an end to the clashes and for those implicated to be held accountable. He did not provide more details.

The fighting also led to the displacement of at least 90,000 people, who have taken shelter in schools and government buildings and nearby villages, according to the UN.

Authorities in West Darfur imposed a 24-hour curfew in all of the province and authorised military and police to use “all necessary force” to regain order. The central government in Khartoum also deployed security reinforcements. -AP

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