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Up to 15,000 dead in war-plagued Darfur town : UN report


By AFP
Published : 23 Jan 2024 08:52 PM

A single town in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region has seen 10,000 to 15,000 people killed since April, with paramilitaries allied with Arab militias potentially committing crimes against humanity there, according to a UN report seen Monday by AFP.

Fighting has raged since last spring between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's troops and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo's rebel paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with El Geneina -- the capital of West Darfur state -- emerging as the nucleus of the brutal violence.

The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives, according to a conservative estimate by the ACLED analysis group, on which the United Nations Office for

Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) bases its assessment. Millions of people have been displaced.

But "according to intelligence sources, between 10,000-15,000 people were killed in El Geneina alone," according to a report by an expert panel mandated by the UN Security Council to monitor the enforcement of sanctions against Sudan. 

The document, sent to Security Council members but not yet officially published, provides no overall death toll but describes in detail the "ethnically motivated" violence in El Geneina, which fell under RSF control in June.

"The attacks were planned, coordinated, and executed by RSF and their allied Arab militias," who "deliberately targeted civilian neighbourhoods, (internally displaced persons) gathering sites and IDP camps, schools, mosques, and hospitals, while looting" homes, non-governmental organizations and UN compounds, the experts wrote.

The RSF and allied militias deliberately targeted the Masalit community, the town's majority non-Arab ethnic group, they added, saying there were snipers "placed on the main roads that indiscriminately targeted civilians, including women, pregnant women, and youth."

More broadly in West Darfur, the experts said, the paramilitaries and their allies "systematically violated international humanitarian law," with crimes including torture, rape, mass arrests and forced displacement.

"Some of these violations may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," the report stressed. It also denounced the RSF violations of the arms embargo, noting from July, it deployed heavy and sophisticated weapons including unmanned drones, howitzers and rocket launchers.

"This new RSF firepower had a massive impact on the balance of forces, both

in Darfur and other regions of Sudan," according to the experts in the

report.

They also pointed the finger at the United Arab Emirates and other nations,

saying there were credible allegations that the UAE was funelling "military

support" to the RSF through Chad, which borders Sudan's Darfur.

The UAE has denied the allegations.