Families kidnapped fleeing Sudan's Darfur unrest: local leader

Janjaweed militia in Sudan's Darfur region kidnapped more than 20 members of a tribe fleeing deadly inter-ethnic violence, prompting their group to boycott a ceasefire process, a local leader said Sunday.

Five families, a total of 24 people from the Maaliya tribe, were abducted on Saturday night just outside the East Darfur state capital Ed Daein, said Zekria Suliman, a local Maaliya leader.

The families were trying to leave the Ed Daein area, where local sources say the rival Rezeigat tribe predominates.

Dozens died in fighting between the Maaliya and Rezeigat Arab tribes on August 10 and 11.

Suliman accused police, who were escorting the Maaliya convoy, of failing to intervene during the abduction and then trying to cover up the incident.

"For that reason, we decided to suspend negotiations with the Rezeigat and the signing of a ceasefire agreement," Suliman said.

"They were kidnapped by Janjaweed," he said, referring to Arab tribal militias active in the region, without accusing the Rezeigat.

Non-Arabs in Darfur rose up 10 years ago against what they saw as the domination of Sudan's power and wealth by Arab elites. In response, the government-backed Janjaweed shocked the world with atrocities against them.

Although the rebellion continues, analysts have warned since at least 2010 that relations were souring between the government and the Arab tribes it armed to fight the insurgency.

Observers say Sudan's crisis-hit government generally has less money for the militias.

"Now they have taken things into their own hands," one Sudan analyst said.

Tribal disputes have been driven by conflict over resources including land, water and mineral rights, observers say.