Security forces from West Darfur in Sudan dispersed protesters on Sunday who had gathered outside government buildings.
It said that the crowd was demonstrating after government militia burned their homes leaving them homeless.
Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) claim that four protesters were killed, but government officials denied the claim.
“Security services supported by tribal militia opened fire on civilians protesting at the buildings of the secretariat of the West Darfur state government leading to the deaths of four protesters and wounding others,” the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) said in a statement.
The group went ahead to give two names of those who it said had been killed.
It is believed that the demonstration was instigated by the discovery of a herder’s body in the village of Muli, 50 kilometres south of Geneina, which is the capital of West Darfur.
“The herder’s relatives surrounded the village, prompting its residents to flee to Geneina, where they congregated outside the government buildings,” a source said.
“Youths and displaced people from the camps around the town joined them and surrounded the government buildings and burned three cars,” the source added.
The claims were denied by a West Darfur government spokesman who said the security forces dispersed a group of demonstrators in front of the buildings after they burned three cars, without causing casualties.
Violence is not new in Darfur
The region has been embroiled in war since 2003 when ethnic rebels including the SLM started a campaign against the Arab-dominated government of President Omar al-Bashir, saying they were being marginalised.
Claims Bashir has denied despite being indicted by the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide charges related to the conflict.
According to the United Nations, about 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003, and around 2.5 million people have been displaced by the unrest in the region.