Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

RSF accused of ethnic cleansing in West Darfur

Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias killed “at least thousands of people” in West Darfur state, Human Rights Watch has said, in what it called apparent “crimes against humanity” and “genocide”.

In a report published on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that RSF attacks on the Masalit tribe and other non-Arab groups between April and November 2023 were some of the worst atrocities in the ongoing civil war which started that April.

The HRW report documents evidence of a systematic campaign by the RSF and allied militias to remove Massalit residents from El Geneina.

Witnesses described how the RSF rounded up and shot men, women and children who attempted to escape the ethnic violence in the restive city.

The attacks in el-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, saw entire neighbourhoods housing primarily displaced Masalit communities looted, burned, shelled and razed to the ground.

The campaign that amounted to “ethnic cleansing” left hundreds of thousands of people as refugees, HRW said in its 186-page report.

Alan Boswell from the International Crisis Group said an arms embargo was imposed on Darfur years ago but was never enforced, also warning that serious violations could be under way in el-Fasher, in North Darfur state and the last state capital not under the control of the RSF.

Sudan descended into chaos in April 2023, when long-simmering tensions between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the RSF, lef by Mohamed “Hemedti” Dagalo, broke out into street battles in the capital, Khartoum.

El-Geneina, where Masalits make up more than half of the population, has seen some of the fiercest fighting outside Khartoum since.

The UN’s World Food Programme last week warned of the deteriorating situation in Darfur, where aid has been cut off as advancing RSF forces attempt to take control of el-Fasher, where an estimated 500,000 displaced civilians are sheltering.

“As the UN Security Council and governments wake up to the looming disaster in El Fasher, the large-scale atrocities committed in El Geneina should be seen as a reminder of the atrocities that could come in the absence of concerted action,” said HRW executive director Tirana Hassan.

More than half a million refugees from West Darfur have fled to Chad since April 2023. As of late October 2023, 75 percent were from el-Geneina, HRW said, as it called for the UN and the African Union to sanction those responsible and impose an arms embargo on the RSF.

Read more here

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.