El Fasher, 23 August 2012 - An African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) team visited Mellit, North Darfur, on 21 August to meet with community leaders and mitigate friction between the Ziyadiah and Berti tribes, the two main tribes in the area.
Leading the team, UNAMID Head of Office for North Darfur, Hassan Gibril, expressed the Mission’s deep concern for the tragic events that confronted members of the two tribes and presented his condolences for the lost lives. He offered UNAMID’s assistance in mediation and intertribal reconciliation activities.
Disagreements between the Ziyadiah and Berti tribes emerged on 15 August and resulted in violent clashes in which shops were looted and destroyed in Mellit's main market area and six people were reportedly killed and 12 injured.
Representatives of the Al-Ziyadiah tribe, led by the deputy nazir, Rabih Mohammed Rabih (left), during their meeting with the UNAMID delegation in Mellit. Photo by Albert González Farran
“Mellit is known for the peaceful coexistence between all tribes. I hope that this reputation will continue well into the future”, Mr. Gibril said, noting the importance of the current local initiatives by civil society leaders, native administration and the citizens in the area to bring great peace and security to the area. “We want to learn from what happened to prevent such incidents in the future,” he added.
During a meeting with Mr. Gibril and the UNAMID delegation, the chief umda (local leader) of the Abassi camp for internally displaced persons, Adam Abdurahim Kharif, said that the residents fear attacks similar to the one that happened in the Kassab camp, and asked for more protection to prevent them. “We take the lesson of what happen to our brothers; we don’t wait until it happen to us,” he added, thanking the Mission Team Site for its support and for increasing its presence in the camp.
Mr. Kharif went on to express his hope for the full implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which he said will bring security to the region and allow the displaced people to return to their places of origin.
The local commissioner of Mellit, Mohamed Osman Ibrahim, speaking about the violence and loss of life, said that what happened last week was a series of isolated incidents that have been resolved through goodwill. “The security situation is under total control; it’s back to normal,” he added.
The deputy leader of the Ziyadiah tribe, Rabih Mohammed Rabih, explained that members of the community moved quickly to contain the situation and now are working together to find a peaceful remedy. He added that both tribes live in a single location where they share land and other resources. He expressed hope for additional support to the community so its people will be able to make a living and not resort to violence or criminality.
The leader of the Berti tribe, King Yassir Hussein Ahmadi, said that, in general, the culture of the area values peace and the people are not troublemakers.
Representatives of Al-Berti tribe pray in King Yasser Hussein Ahmadi's palace in Mellit. Photo by Albert González Farran