British MPs have been warned of the possibility of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and urged to put pressure on the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, which has been accused of murder and arson attacks on minority groups in the area.
The Janjaweed were accused of carrying out a genocide against Darfuri ethnic groups on behalf of the Sudanese government, killing an estimated 300,000 people since 2003. While the scale of violence eased over the years, attacks on Darfuri ethnic groups by Arab militias linked to the RSF continued, especially after the withdrawal of peacekeeping troops in 2020, displacing half a million people in the first six months of 2022.
The RSF has been fighting the Sudanese army for control of the country in the capital, Khartoum, it has been accused of waging a separate war in Darfur where the Janjaweed militias, from which the RSF was formed, were accused of genocide almost 20 years ago.
“The war in Khartoum is totally different from in Darfur,” Saif Nemir, a UN employee who escaped the Janjaweed, told the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Sudan and South Sudan on Monday. “The war in Darfur is the Janjaweed attacking innocent people sitting in their own villages.”
The RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, has since accumulated military and financial power from goldmines he controls in Darfur, which mostly supply the United Arab Emirates.
Vicky Ford, the chair of the APPG, said the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be pressured into severing ties with the RSF because of its violence in Darfur, and with the Sudanese army for the wider conflict in Sudan.
“Why has the UK not sanctioned the commercial wings of the RSF and the SAF, as the US has?” she asked. “What pressure is being put on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, given that many RSF and SAF commercial entities are registered there?”
She told parliament last week that “a systemic ethnic cleansing” was occurring in Darfur.
The UN said at the weekend it had received testimony of summary executions and persistent violence over the course of last week, accompanied by hate speech calling for the Masalit to be killed and expelled from Sudan.
El Geneina, the Capital of West Darfur has been the site of heavy fighting between the RSF and the Sudanese armed forces (SAF).
Dr Ahmed Abbas, the vice-president of the Sudan Doctors Union, told the meeting that up to 5,000 people had been killed and 8,000 injured around El Geneina over the past two months, with bodies left in the street, posing a potential public health risk.
He said only the city’s military hospital was still in operation, which civilians could not access. Two doctors had been killed by RSF fighters while at work, he added.
“The attack on El Geneina has reduced it to a wasteland – around 75% of residents have crossed to Chad and those remaining were unable to leave,” he said. “What is happening in Sudan is manifesting as a genocide in Darfur.”
Read more at the Guardian