West News Wire: An unknown number of persons were killed and injured in clashes between military troops and armed groups at the sites of a previous international peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s Darfur area on Saturday, according to a military statement.

Witnesses told  that heavy gunfire clashes could be heard around the perimeter of the former African Union-United Nations peacekeeping operation UNAMID’s headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur, on Saturday, but that the number of victims was unknown.

Since 2020, there has been an uptick in violence and displacement in Darfur, which commentators attribute to factions jockeying for control in the aftermath of a peace deal reached with some former rebel groups that year and UNAMID’s withdrawal at the start of 2021.

Sudan’s military leaders said on Wednesday the groups that signed the deal would have to leave cities in Darfur following looting and attacks that led the U.N.’s World Food Programme to temporarily suspend its operations in the region.

The UNAMID peace-keepers were meant to be replaced by a national joint force that is yet to be deployed. Former UNAMID facilities have been repeatedly attacked and looted.

Conflict that escalated clashes in Darfur from 2003 killed an estimated 300,000 people, as government forces and allied militias sought to crush a rebellion. Some 2.5 million people live in displacement camps in Darfur.

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