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Hausa Rise Up in Sudan

This picture taken 7.18.2022 shows a burning vehicle in the wake of clashes in Sudan's eastern city of Kassala, after a week of deadly tribal clashes in the country's south with the Berti tribe in violence in Blue Nile state, bordering Ethiopia

Thousands of Sudan's Hausa people set up barricades and attacked government buildings in several cities Monday, witnesses said, after a week of deadly tribal clashes in the country's south.

The clashes between the Berti and Hausa tribes first erupted last Monday after the Bertis rejected a Hausa request to create a "civil authority to supervise access to land", a prominent Hausa member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

But a senior member of the Bertis had said the tribe was responding to a "violation" of its lands by the Hausas.

In a bid to shed light on the violence in Blue Nile state, which has killed 60 people and wounded 163 others according to local authorities, Hausa activists called for a demonstration Tuesday in Sudan's capital Khartoum.

Blue Nile governor Ahmed al-Omda on Friday banned public gatherings and marches for one month and imposed a night-time curfew in the state, which borders Ethiopia.

In a statement Monday, he said authorities will "strike with an iron fist" against those inciting "racism, hatred and strife," according to state news agency SUNA.

Troops were deployed in Blue Nile on Saturday, and since then an uneasy calm has prevailed there although tensions have escalated elsewhere.

n the eastern city of Kassala, the government banned public gatherings after several thousand Hausa people "set government buildings and shops on fire", according to eyewitness Hussein Saleh.

"It's panic in the city center," Kassala resident Idriss Hussein told AFP by telephone. He said protesters were "blocking roads and waving sticks."

In the city of Wad Madani, some 200 kilometers (around 125 miles) south of Khartoum, "hundreds of Hausa people put up stone barricades and burned tires on the main bridge to block traffic", resident Adel Ahmed told AFP.

The Hausas are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, with tens of millions of members living in several countries.

There are three million Hausas in Sudan, where they largely follow the majority religion of Islam, but speak their own native language rather than Arabic.

They mostly live off agriculture in Darfur, Al-Jazira state and in the eastern states of Kassala, Gedaref, Sennar and Blue Nile.