Possible genocide committed in Sudan, report says


A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) sheds light on what could be one of the worst atrocities of the year-long Sudanese civil war. The report suggests that a genocide may have occurred in the West Darfur city of El Geneina, where ethnic Massalit and non-Arab communities faced ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The Sudanese civil war has led to widespread violence and displacement, particularly in regions like West Darfur. Tensions over resources between non-Arab farming communities and Arab pastoralist communities have fueled the conflict for years.

According to the HRW report, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias targeted Massalit residents in El Geneina, leading to thousands of deaths and displacements between April and November 2023. Witnesses described how the RSF rounded up and shot men, women, and children attempting to escape the violence.

Survivors from El Geneina shared harrowing accounts of the violence they endured. One man described fleeing to a central gathering place after attacks on different parts of the city, only to face bombings by the RSF. He recounted burying numerous dead bodies, including children and adults, on multiple occasions.

The HRW report also highlights incidents of sexual violence, with armed men raping women and using degrading language. They told victims that their people had been killed and that they were now servants of the attackers’ wives. Additionally, derogatory racial slurs were used against Massalit and other ethnic groups.

The violence culminated in a large-scale massacre on June 15, 2023, when the RSF and its allies fired on a convoy of fleeing civilians. Witnesses reported horrific scenes, including the killing of children separated from their parents and shot by RSF forces.

The conflict in Darfur has deep roots in historical tensions over resources and ethnic divisions. Former government policies exacerbated these tensions, leading to the formation of Arab militias like the Janjaweed, from which the RSF emerged. Many of those affected by the recent violence had previously fled attacks by the Janjaweed.

RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, has denied targeting civilians. However, HRW holds him and others with command responsibility accountable for the atrocities. The report calls for further investigations to determine if the violence constitutes genocide.

The situation in West Darfur remains dire, with ongoing violence and displacement. HRW’s findings underscore the urgent need for international attention and action to address the atrocities and support affected communities. Without immediate intervention, the cycle of violence and suffering in Darfur is likely to continue.


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