Khartoum, 8 November 2023 (TDI): Reports of a new surge in ethnically-driven killings have emerged from Sudan’s West Darfur, as violence continues to grip the region.
People fleeing the violence have sought refuge in Chad, painting a grim picture of the situation in the troubled state.
The situation escalated when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took control of the main army base in El Geneina, the state capital.
Eyewitnesses and refugees recount the horrific accounts of violence targeting the Masalit ethnic group, conducted by Arab militias and RSF forces in the Ardamata district of El Geneina, which is home to both the army base and an internally displaced people (IDP) camp.
According to the reports, the eyewitnesses detailed the killing of civilians and the targeted ethnic violence against the Masalit people. However, the RSF has not yet responded to these allegations, and independent verification of these accounts is pending.
Between April and June of this year, the RSF and allied Arab militias carried out systematic attacks that specifically targeted the Masalit people, the majority ethnic African tribe in El Geneina. These attacks were part of the ongoing conflict between the RSF and Sudan’s national army.
Public comments from Arab tribal leaders have denied any involvement in ethnic cleansing, and the RSF has described the situation as a tribal conflict, rather than an organized campaign of violence.
Efforts to secure a ceasefire in the region have, unfortunately, failed to yield results. At talks in Jeddah, the warring parties agreed to facilitate aid deliveries and implement confidence-building measures, but the situation on the ground remains volatile and dangerous.
The attack on the army base in Ardamata began last week, coinciding with the shelling of homes in the IDP camp.
Nabil Meccia, a nurse who managed to escape the violence, reported witnessing RSF forces committing atrocities, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians during raids in the Ardamata camp. He also described the harrowing sight of men being lined up and executed.