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UN expresses concern over resurgence of ethnic clashes in Sudan

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UN expresses concern over resurgence of ethnic clashes in Sudan
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The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Ms Alice Nderitu, has expressed concern over a reported resurgence of ethnic clashes in the Blue Nile region of Sudan.

According to the UN, inter-communal clashes that have flared up several times since July have caused at least 359 fatalities, injured 469 people, displaced more than 97,000, and triggered extensive property damage.

“The clashes between the ethnic communities are rooted in long standing issues over land ownership and ethnic representation,” Nderitu said in a statement on Thursday.

The violence, which kicked off in July, was renewed in September and again last month.

It has spread from the Al Rosires locality to Ad Damazin and then to Wad Al Mahi.

“There is a risk of further escalation as local sources reported that ethnic groups across the border were being mobilised in support of the violence in the Blue Nile,” she warned.

The special adviser expressed particular concern that violence and reprisal attacks had been fuelled by hate speech and incitement to hatred, exacerbated through social media and in ethnic gatherings.

Despite an agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” by the affected communities on July 13, ethnic clashes have continued.

“The repeated violence undermines efforts at mitigation and strengthening inter-communal dialogue,” Nderitu said.

The senior UN official welcomed efforts by the government of the Blue Nile region to stop the violence, restore order and establish a committee to investigate the violence in Wad al Mahi locality.

She then called on those in positions of authority to do their utmost to institute conflict prevention mechanisms and bring the perpetrators of violations to account no matter how high or influential.

“Only through ensuring accountability will the cycle of violence be broken,” the senior UN expert said.

The Special Adviser also called on the people of Sudan, leaders, civil society, and youth to prioritise trust-building and increase efforts to enhance social cohesion.

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She also called on religious leaders and others to use their voices to speak out against hate and to stand in solidarity with the affected communities in line with the Fez Plan of Action.

Nderitu urged tech and social media companies to utilise all available tools to “stop the spread of incitement and hatred” on their platforms, as stressed in the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.

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