Eighteen people have been killed and 54 injured in tribal clashes in the Sudanese city of El Geneina, medics said on Monday, in a renewal of bloodshed following a major flare up of violence earlier this year.
The incident is the latest in the troubled region since the signing of a peace agreement late last year and the withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers.
In January, at least 129 people were killed and military reinforcements were brought into El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. However, local sources say they have since largely withdrawn.
The most recent clashes began between members of the Masalit and Arab tribes on Saturday and escalated on Sunday and Monday morning throughout the city, the West Darfur Doctors Committee said in a statement.
Residents of the city and an internal U.N. security bulletin seen by Reuters report the use of heavy weaponry and rocket-propelled grenades, with pictures and videos from residents showing plumes of smoke rising from the city’s neighbourhoods.
In October, the transitional Sudanese government signed a peace agreement with some of the rebel groups that had fought ousted President Omar al-Bashir.
However, attacks by members of Arab tribes Bashir had armed to fight the rebels have been escalating, and tribal clashes have increased in the heavily armed region.
International peacekeepers began withdrawing at the start of the year, and the Sudanese government said a new joint peacekeeping force mandated under the agreement would be able to protect civilians. But many in Darfur say they feel less safe.