More than 60 people have been killed and another 60 injured in fresh violence in the West Darfur region of Sudan, UN officials announced Sunday.
Around 500 armed men attacked Masteri Town, north of Beida, in Darfur on Saturday afternoon, said the statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The attackers targeted members of the local Masalit community, looting and burning houses and part of the local market, the statement added.
“This was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” said the statement, from the OCHA’s Khartoum office.
Following Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged a protest demanding more protection from the authorities.
Members of the Masalit community said they would not bury their dead until the authorities took action, said the OCHA.
On Sunday, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the government would send security forces to the conflict-stricken region to “protect citizens and the farming season”.
His announcement came two days after gunmen in the region killed at least 20 civilians, including children, as they returned to their fields for the first time in years, the latest in a string of violent incidents.
The recent killings have targeted the African farming tribes in conflict with the nomadic Arab tribes over the land.
“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” said the OCHA statement.