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Civil Strife Claims Lives in Eastern Sudan

The latest civil strife in Eastern Sudan has subsided leaving over a dozen people dead and over sixty people wounded. The unrest also cause a considerable damage to properties.

The infighting that started on May 18, 2020 is a continuation of at least four such conflicts that erupted in Eastern Sudan cities in the last two years. Last year a similar conflict caused the death of several people in Port Sudan.

In the recent bout of violence, stones, swords, knives, and sticks were used. Asked if guns were used in the fighting, a resident of Kessela told Gedab News, “there were very few gunshots… otherwise, the casualties would have been higher.”

The tension between the Beni-Amer and Nubians in the Eastern Sudan is many years old, but the recent infighting was triggered by quarrel between two people. But soon, after the quarrel of the two individuals pulled in “others who were on the edge and joined the fry, the violence got out of control.”

The conflicts has now stopped after heavily armed soldiers, backed by helicopters, swarmed the streets of Kessela.

A meeting to reconcile the two groups today didn’t bear fruit. It’s likely the leaders and elders of the two groups will continue meeting under the auspices of the local government of Eastern Sudan.

The Beni-Amer tribal confederacy is indigenous to the region and its extension are found across the border in Western Eritrea.

Together with other Eritreans, many have sought refuge in Eastern Sudan since the mid 196s. They left their land and fled to the East after King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia started to implement a scorched earth policy in Western Eritrea. Ethiopian troops and fighter planes had burned and torched hundreds of villages and killed thousands of Eritrean villagers.

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  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam all. TPLF instigated border clashes between Sudan and Ethiopia erupted over this past weekend. To recall that Ethiopia and Sudan had not signed border agreement since 1972. Back in 2018, it is said that the TPLF secretly gave away land to Sudan as part of a propaganda ploy to make the giveaway appear as if it was done by Demeke Mekonen for which he has strongly recanted. TPLF has for some time been enlisting corrupt low-rank Sudanese officials from border regions to create havoc against Ethiopia in a bid to destabilize PMAA’s Government.

  • Mokie Berhe
  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam all. How many of the old Italian community in Asmara with business which date back to before the Dergue are still operational? I can only think of Rino Modici (Modifier-machine shop) who now in his 80s still goes to work on a daily basis -evevn during this COVID period-.

  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam Simon Kaleab. You seem to be a die-hard rocker. So, a question for you. What was the first known rock band in Asmara? The Playboys?

  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam All. Discussions now ongoing in Addis Ababa in regards to the possibility of shutting down (partially or in whole) its airport as a result of quickly escalting new COVID cases. Courtesy coms in regards to this possibility have been informally extended to neighboring countries.

  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam all. The extremely desperate economic situation inside of Eritrea needs to be brought out openly to the public. Oftentimes people complain about the desperate economic situation inside Eritrea, but few really understand it. One-third of Eritrean national budget now comes from diaspora remittances which remain exceptionally high. The PFDJ continues to levy a 2% remittance tax on all Eritreans living abroad. The PFDJ continues to run Himbol Financial Services which oversees handling remittances and tax payments of diaspora Eritreans, which are channelled through Eritrean embassies and consulates abroad or through appointed government money collectors. Diaspora Eritreans, however, usually prefer to engage in private money transfers via third persons, many of whom are based in Dubai and are often government agents. The currency black market using the “hawala” system continues to flourish; though these activities are not officially tolerated by the Government but many from the Government nonetheless benefit from such. Only one international remittance company, Western Union, operates in the market. Number of Western Union agents in Eritrea are as follows: Debubawi Keih Bahri (0), Debub (2), Gash Barka (2), Anseba (1), Semenawi Keih (1), Maekel (6), Archipelagos (0).
    Regulatory Framework in Eritrea – No frameworks in place
    Very high corruption perception (165th place out of 180 countries)
    Extremely low scoring in Ease of Doing Business (189th out of 190 countries)
    Extremely low scoring in Regulatory Quality (country score: 1, min=0/max = 100)
    No explicit deposit insurance in place for banks’ customers
    Consumer Protection law not in place
    Very low financial inclusion levels
    The commercial banking sector has a limited range of products available – Electronic banking and bank-led mobile wallets are not available
    Very limited banking penetration MFIs – The sector is extremely limited in size with only 1 active institution (SMCP) Remittance

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam Awatistas
    Firstly, thanks to Negarit news, this is objective reporting, there is no implications of Eritrea, as has been the templates in other similar regional news reporting.
    Secondly, as you have correctly stated, the conflict is as old. The first such an eruption, I believe, was in the mid-1980s, when refugees from the war-torn Western and the Southern parts of Sudan were brought to Eastern Sudan. Some also arrived in search of jobs.
    Thirdly: What would appear to be as expected clashes between cultures in areas of contact, which should have been handled by authorities and civil societies have often been exploited by hidden forces.
    a/ At times of political and economic, crises, elements in the regimes of Sudan have incited social unrest, usually appearing to defend the interest of the other parts of Sudan as legitimate citizens of Sudan more than the interests and concerns of the people of Eastern Sudan, who in fact are the indigenous inhabitants of that part of Sudan, the Beni-Amers and the Handendwas, who also have family extensions in Eritrea.
    b/ Hence, the Nubian settlers of Western and Southern Sudan have maintained that the Beni-Amers are refugees. They say the “refugees” have monopolized businesses and administration positions in Eastern Sudan. The Beni Amer and Hadendwa have lived in Eastern Sudan long before the colonial border was drawn, and as you have correctly pointed it out, many Tigrayt speaking families and other Eritreans who are collectively called “Beni-Amer” had been crossing the border to Eastern Sudan, mainly to Kasala and Port Sudan, since the late 1960s . By the way, in its correct use, Ben-Amer is a tribe within the Tigre people, but the Nubians are calling anyone who speaks Tigrayt Ben-Amer. They call for their deportation to Eritrea.
    c/ The Ben-Amer, however claim they have been in Eastern Sudan long before the declaration of the independence of Sudan. The current governor of Kassala is a retired high-ranking military officer, of Ben-Amer descent.
    d/ The cause seems a familiar one, where social injustices and the question of citizenship intersect and needs a government that understand this immense challenge.
    e/ As of today many reconciliation efforts and agreements have been tried but non seems to have worked. Currently, the Beni-Amer (including clans of the Habab) have refused to engage the Nubians for dialogue. They say they are tired and fed up of broken treaties and promises by the Nubian side. As a counter offer, they are now asking for the Nubians to leave Eastern Sudan.
    f/ Many Sudanese commentaries coming from the Eastern part of the country and social media activities suggest that there are third parties that are fanning the conflict. Elements form the fallen regime of Omar Al-Bashir, international Islamists and Qatar are the suspected actors often mentioned.
    g/ The situation needs a government delegations that monitors it permanently and the encouragement of all affected sides to sit for charting out a lasting peace based on the ideas of citizenship and equitable sharing of power and resources.

    • hawkeye

      In Port Sudan, Amal El Zaki, head of the Red Sea state Women’s Union, accused affiliates of the ousted regime of Omar Al Bashir of provoking conflict in the region. She called out “greedy parties” in neighbouring countries who are using harbours for smuggling.

      “There are hidden hands that want to thwart the transitional period,”


      Which neighbouring countries you think she’s talking about, eh?

      This reeks of HGDEF involvement.

  • Aklil

    You write “The infighting that started on May 18, 2020”
    May 18 is still five days ahead!

    • Brhan

      Hi Aklil
      It is May 08, 2020