Six people have been killed in three days of unrest in Sudan's Darfur region, a local official said on Monday, as a joint U.N. -African Union peacekeeping mission to the area urged the government to contain and investigate the violence.
UNAMID said tensions had developed after an unidentified group attacked the village of Mouli on Jan. 9, displacing large numbers of residents to the town of El Geneina, where they protested the next day at the governor's office, leading to the closure of local businesses and schools.
"(UNAMID) has been receiving reports of continuous unrest and sporadic firing across El Geneina and in Mouli with an undetermined number of casualties. UNAMID calls on the government authorities to exert their utmost efforts to contain the situation and investigate the incidents," it said in a statement.
Khaled Abdallah, governor of West Darfur, told Blue Nile TV that six people had been killed and three wounded.
He said rebels had incited displaced civilians to attack the government headquarters and governor's residence in El Geneina.
Protesters had opened fire on security forces on Monday, prompting them to respond, he said.
"The situation in the town is now stable," he added.
Residents of El Geneina said there was a heavy security presence and that they could hear the sound of shots coming from different districts.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination.
According to the United Nations, as many as 300,000 people have been killed, some 4.4 million people need aid and more than 2.5 million have been displaced. Although the killings have eased, the insurgency continues and Khartoum has sharply escalated attacks on rebel groups over the past year.
UNAMID has long faced accusations of failing to do enough to protect Darfur's civilians. The International Criminal Court indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.