At least one person was killed and several injured at a protest in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, the joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission said.
The incident took place today when gunfire broke out during a protest in the town of Zelengi in West Darfur state, the mission said in an e-mailed statement. It occurred as a delegation of mediators in the Darfur peace process was holding a meeting with civil society representatives, the mission said.
“As the party departed the protests turned violent,” the statement said. The delegation was led by Qatari Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Abdulla Al-Mahmoud and the peacekeeping mission’s chief mediator, Djibrill Bassolé, the mission said.
Sudan’s two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction and the Justice and Equality Movement, have halted peace talks with the Sudanese government. They accuse the government of violating previous agreements and demand that armed pro-government militias be disarmed.
Sudan’s army has been fighting rebels in Darfur since 2003, when insurgents took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region.
The conflict has led to the death of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, and forced about 2.7 million people to flee their homes, according to UN estimates. The Sudanese government has put the death toll at about 10,000.
The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, accusing him of responsibility for genocide and war crimes in Darfur. He denies the charges.