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Death toll from Sudan ethnic clashes rises to 105

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Ethnic clashes in Sudan’s Blue Nile state in a deadly land dispute killed 105 people and wounded 291, the state’s health minister said, providing a new toll Wednesday.

Fighting broke out in the southern state on the borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan on July 11 between members of the Berti and Hausa ethnic groups.

“The situation is now calm,” state health minister Jamal Nasser told AFP by telephone from the state capital al-Damazin, some 460 kilometres (285 miles) south of Khartoum.

The deployment of the army had eased the fighting since Saturday, he said.

“The challenge now is in sheltering the displaced,” Nasser said.

The United Nations said Tuesday that more than 17,000 people have fled their homes from the fighting, with 14,000 “sheltering in three schools in al-Damazin.”

Between January and March this year, the UN said aid was provided to 563,000 people in Blue Nile.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries and mired in an economic crisis that has deepened since an October coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has seen only rare interludes of civilian rule since independence.

In Sudan, deadly clashes regularly erupt over land, livestock and access to water and grazing, especially in areas still awash with weapons left over from decades of civil war.

Fighting in Blue Nile reportedly broke out after Bertis rejected a Hausa request to create a “civil authority to supervise access to land”, a prominent Hausa member said.

But a senior Berti leader said the group was responding to a “violation” of their land by the Hausas.

While fighting is reported to have stopped and relative calm returned to Blue Nile, tensions have escalated in other states, where the Hausa people have taken to the streets demanding “justice for the martyrs.”

Thousands protested Tuesday in Khartoum, North Kordofan, Kassala, Gedaref, and Port Sudan, according to AFP correspondents.