Responding to reports of escalating violence in West Darfur in recent days, including attacks by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied Arab militias on non-Arab residents of the region, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
“Amnesty International is alarmed at reports of ethnically-motivated targeted killings, sexual violence, widespread burning of homes, and mass displacement of non-Arab residents of West Darfur – particularly in and around the city of El Geneina – by the RSF and allied Arab militias.
“This spiralling violence bears terrifying similarity with the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Darfur since 2003. Even those seeking safety are not being spared.
“The protection of civilians across the country must be the highest priority. The international community must urgently support the humanitarian response in Sudan and the Region at today’s High Level Pledging Event. Millions of Sudanese, both inside and outside the country, are depending on it.
“The parties to the conflict must comply with international humanitarian law and immediately cease violations against civilians. The RSF and its allied militias must allow safe passage to civilians fleeing the conflict.”
On 14 June 2023, Khamis Abakar, the Governor of West Darfur, was captured and killed by RSF fighters, just hours after he publicly accused the RSF of committing genocide in El Geneina.
A video circulating on social media showed a group of RSF fighters forcing Khamis Abakar out of a vehicle and into a building. One of the men pictured in the video appears to be a RSF commander in West Darfur. The video has been geolocated to a compound on the western side of El Geneina. A second video, which appeared on social media a few hours later, showed Khamis Abakar’s dead body bearing significant wounds. Khamis Abakar was also the leader of the Sudanese Alliance armed group.
The UN has estimated that thousands of people have been killed or injured since the conflict escalated in April 2023. Credible reports indicate that the RSF and allied militias have killed or injured many in West Darfur, and the situation continues to worsen.
Amnesty International has previously warned that the new escalation of conflict in Sudan is exacerbating 20 years of suffering for civilians in Darfur. Amnesty International is again calling for all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and the safe passage of humanitarian aid in the country.
Full details on the human rights situation in Sudan can be found in Amnesty International’s 2022 Annual Report update.