Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

From 10,000 to 15,000 people killed in a town in Darfur

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A victim of sexual violence in El-Geneina, western Sudan, where UN experts estimate that there are 10,000 15,000 people have died since the start of the conflict last April. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

Between 10,000 and 15,000 people have been killed since April in the town of El-Geneina in Darfur, western Sudan, where paramilitaries allied with Arab militias have committed violations that may amount to ” crimes against humanity”, according to a report by UN experts examined Monday by AFP.

Fighting has raged since April 15, 2023 between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitaries) of General Mohammed Hamdane Daglo, former number two in military power.

The conflict has left more than 13,000 dead, according to an estimate by the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled), on which the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) relies for its assessment.

According to intelligence sources, between 10,000 and 15,000 people were killed in El-Geneina alone, capital of West Darfur, assures the committee of experts mandated by the UN Security Council to monitor the application of sanctions against Sudan.

The document, transmitted to the members of the Council, but not yet officially published, does not give an overall assessment, but describes in detail the ethnic violence in this town fell into the hands of the FSR in June.

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The attacks were planned, coordinated and executed by the RSF and allied Arab militias, who deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods […] displaced persons camps, schools, mosques and hospitals, also looting houses and sites of international NGOs and the UN.

A quote from Excerpt from the report of the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs

The RSF and allied militias deliberately targeted the Massalit community, majority non-Arab ethnic group in the city, they add, also mentioning snipers, placed by the RSF on the main roads, attacking civilians indiscriminately, including women, pregnant women and young people.

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Sudanese soldiers and men enlisted to participate in the fighting that has raged since last April between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries under the command of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. Photo taken in Gedaref, January 14, 2024.

More broadly, in West Darfur, the paramilitaries and their allies have systematically violated humanitarian law international.

Attacks on civilians, torture, rape, mass arrests, forced displacement, looting: Some of these violations could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, experts say.

The report also denounces violations of the arms embargo, noting that from July, thanks to means from the gold trade, the FSR were able to deploy heavy weapons or sophisticated like drones. This new firepower has had a massive impact on the balance of power in Darfur and other parts of Sudan.

In this context, the experts point the finger at several countries, notably the United Arab Emirates.

They thus consider the declarations of the number two of the x27;Sudanese army, General Yasser Atta, who in November accused the wealthy Gulf state of having sent weapons to the RSF.

The report notably mentions an arms supply route from Abu Dhabi through Chad, specifying that the Emirates denied these accusations in a letter sent to the committee of experts dated December 21.

In this region on the border with Chad, the Janjawids, from which the FSR come, are accused of having perpetrated a genocide at the beginning of the 2000s on behalf of the dictator of the time, Omar el-Bashir.

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