Since 11 July, clashes have broken out between Hausa and Barbis in Sudan’s southeastern Blue Nile State, specifically in the Qissan district. According to the report given to AFP on Wednesday by the Minister of Health of Blue Nile, Jamal Nasser, at least 105 people died and 291 were injured. These include the distribution of agricultural land and the formation of a joint civil authority to oversee the issue.
The clashes between Hausa and Barti tribes were sparked by the demand for the creation of an authority to supervise access to agricultural land by the Hausa. Indeed, the Hausa are calling for the formation of a local authority to oversee access to land and water. While the Bartis claim exclusive ownership of the land and refuse passage to non-clan members or supervision outside the tribal system.
On Monday, thousands of Hausas set up barricades and attacked public buildings in several towns, opposing them to the other African clan, the Bartis. As a result, at least 105 people were killed and 291 injured, some seriously. It took the deployment of security forces to stop the armed clashes between these ethnic groups.
This led Blue Nile Governor Ahmed al-Omda to impose a night-time curfew and a month-long ban on gatherings in the region before promising to deal “with an iron fist with those who incite hatred”.
This deadly local conflict is reminiscent of recent violence between the Hausa and Berta tribes in many parts of Blue Nile State, following the murder of a farmer in Gisan State. According to observers, the security vacuum created by the latest coup on 25 October has encouraged a resurgence of tribal violence in a country where every year hundreds of civilians die in clashes between herders and farmers over access to water or land.
Blue Nile State borders Ethiopia. It is home to the Roseires Dam, where the country’s largest electricity generating reservoir is located.