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Tribal warfare in Sudan's Darfur kills 51: leader

Sudnaese military tank is stationed near a Sudanese security facility in the city of Nyala, in the Darfur region, on July 4, 2013
Sudnaese military tank is stationed near a Sudanese security facility in the city of Nyala, in the Darfur region, on July 4, 2013.

Two Arab tribes which have been battling off-and-on for months in Sudan's Darfur region have resumed fighting, leaving dozens dead, one of their leaders said on Friday.

Tribal disputes in the Darfur region have been driven by conflict over resources including land, water and mineral rights, but it was not immediately clear what triggered the latest fighting.

"Yesterday the Salamat attacked one of our villages... and we clashed with them. In total, 51 people were killed and 65 were injured," Ahmed Khiri, a Misseriya tribal leader, told AFP.

Thursday's battle happened in the Umm Dukhun area of Darfur's southwest, he added.

A leader of the rival Salamat tribe, who asked not to be named, confirmed that deadly fighting took place but gave no casualty figures.

"We lost a number of men and also there were losses among the Misseriya," he said.

Inter-ethnic fighting -- much of it Arab against Arab -- has been the major source of violence this year in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people were displaced in the first five months alone, the international peacekeeping mission to the region has said.

In late July the Misseriya and Salamat said they had reached a tentative ceasefire after fighting which Khiri at the time said had killed more than 200.

Those battles occurred just days after the two sides signed an earlier peace deal.

Their conflict reflects the altered dynamics of the conflict in the far-west Darfur region, where non-Arabs began a rebellion 10 years ago.

They were angered at what they saw as the domination of Sudan's power and wealth by Arab elites.

In response, government-backed Janjaweed militia shocked the world with atrocities against the people, mostly blacks.

Now the dynamics of the conflict have changed as the government can no longer control its former Arab tribal allies, observers say.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

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