At least 16 people were murdered in skirmishes between ethnic Hausa and Nuba tribes, according to Sudan’s Suna news agency on Tuesday, forcing the governor of White Nile state, which borders South Sudan, to proclaim a curfew.
The state, which extends from Khartoum to the southern border, has been spared the recent fight between the two competing generals who have been in command since their 2021 putsch, which has killed hundreds, mostly in the capital and Darfur.
This ethnic bloodshed has nothing to do with Sudan’s power struggle.
Conflicts between communities arise on a regular basis in Sudan over access to water and land, which are critical for farmers and herders – often from opposing ethnic groups – while a considerable number of firearms are in circulation after decades of civil war.
“Ethnic clashes that broke out Monday in Kosti,” the capital of White Nile, “between the Hausa and Nuba, escalated again on Tuesday, killing 16 people on both sides,” the official Suna news agency said.
There were reportedly “many injuries and houses burned,” according to the report.
According to the agency, the governor declared a “curfew from 20:00 to 05:00” local time (18:00-03:00 GMT).
Already in October, a war between the Hausa and opposing tribes in the Blue Nile province bordering Ethiopia had killed over 200 people.
The Hausa have long maintained that an ancestral rule that forbids them from holding land as recent arrivals discriminates against them, which they deny.
According to experts, inter-ethnic and inter-tribal clashes have escalated since the coup in 2021 as a result of the security vacuum left by the coup.
The issue of access to land is very sensitive in Sudan, where agriculture and livestock account for 43% of jobs and 30% of GDP.