At least 24 people have been killed after an attack on a camp for displaced people in Sudan, according to an international peacekeeping group.
The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has said Krinding Camp in the state of West Darfur was raided on 29 and 30 December following a dispute between Arab and African ethnic groups.
“The Arab tribesman’s people came to the camp and started shooting and killing and burning,” Ashraf Eissa, a UNAMID spokesperson, said.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
“Then relatives went to the hospital and threatened hospital staff at gunpoint and destroyed the blood bank.”
Mr Eissa added that a government police officer was shot dead when they tried to intervene at the hospital.
At least 17 people were also wounded in the violence which occurred just east of the state capital of el-Geneina, according to Mr Eissa, and many people from the camp have fled to the city or nearby mountains.
The violence has reportedly spread to the surrounding area, where at least 10 villages have been burnt, and some people have tried to flee across the border into Chad.
A statement from the non-Arab Masalit ethnic group has put the death toll at more than 50 people, although that figure has not been independently confirmed.
The UNAMID statement came as senior officials arrived in el-Geneina, the state capital, on Wednesday and were briefed on the security situation in the area.
Military and civilian authorities have been attempting to broker lasting peace in region of Darfur and other parts of Sudan following the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir.
Only the best news in your inbox
Register with your social account or click here to log in
The former leader, who had been in power since 1989, was removed by a military coup in April 2019 and convicted of corruption in December.
Mr Eissa said West Darfur has been generally calm since 2010, although tensions between the Masalit and Arab tribes resurfaced in 2017 and have led to occasional, smaller scale skirmishes.
UN estimates suggest up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million people displaced, including more than 180,000 displaced in West Darfur, since conflict broke out in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the government.
UNAMID has been gradually winding down its presence in Darfur and withdrew from el-Geneina in May 2019.
Last week, hundreds of men in uniform and civilians raided and looted another former UNAMID camp in South Darfur, according to the peacekeeping group.
Additional reporting by Reuters