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Possible genocide committed in Sudan, report says

In World
May 09, 2024

A genocide may have been committed in the West Darfur city of El Geneina in one of the worst atrocities of the year-long Sudanese civil war, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

It says ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity have been committed against ethnic Massalit and non-Arab communities in the city by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and its Arab allies.

The report calls for sanctions for those responsible for the atrocities, including the RSF leader, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti.

About 15,000 people are feared to have been killed in El Geneina last year.

The HRW report documents evidence of a systematic campaign last year by the RSF and allied militias to remove Massalit residents from El Geneina.

Witnesses described how the RSF rounded up and shot men, women and children who attempted to escape the ethnic violence in the restive city.

At least “thousands of people” were killed and “hundreds of thousands” left as refugees between April and November 2023, the 218-page report said.

“The events are among the worst atrocities against civilians so far in the current conflict in Sudan,” it added.

RSF leader Gen Hemedti has denied his fighters deliberately attacked civilians.

But HRW says he is among those with command responsibility over the forces which carried out the atrocities.

The HRW researchers interviewed more than 220 Sudanese refugees in Chad, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan, as well as remotely between June 2023 and April 2024.

They also reviewed and analysed over 120 photos and videos of the events, satellite imagery, and documents shared by humanitarian organisations to corroborate accounts of the abuses.

The rights body called for further investigations to find out if there was an intention to eliminate the Massalit community, which would indicate a genocide.

The UN and the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court have talked about war crimes in Darfur but they have not specifically mentioned genocide.

Last June, West Darfur Governor Khamis Abakar was killed hours after accusing RSF of committing genocide. He is the most senior official known to have been killed since the conflict began in April.

The RSF says it is not involved in what it describes as a “tribal conflict” in Darfur.

More on Sudan’s conflict:

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