Over 1,300 individuals, predominantly civilians from the Massalit tribe, fell victim to a three-day massacre in Sudan’s West Darfur earlier this month. The perpetrating forces, identified as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias, allegedly committed atrocities in the aftermath of expelling Sudanese soldiers from a military base in the suburb of Ardamata during battles from November 2nd to 6th.
Witnesses, local activists, and human rights defenders have provided harrowing accounts of the massacres, which bear striking resemblance to earlier events in June that claimed more than 500 lives.
The Roots Organization for Human Rights and Violation Monitoring, a local NGO, reported in a new document that the death toll in Ardamata since November 4th exceeds 1,300, with more than 2,000 people wounded, 500 detained, and over 300 missing. The RSF and its allies are accused of perpetrating heinous acts, including killing, raping women, looting, and torching homes, against the Massalit community.
Gamal Abdullah Khamis, head of the Roots Organization said, “We believe that the number is much higher, as other crimes and killings are being committed against civilians.”
The ethnic-based attacks persist, with Arab militias reportedly tracking civilians attempting to flee across the Chad border and ambushing them. Ahmed Hajar, a lawyer and human rights activist in Adre refugee camp in Chad, said that hundreds of families fleeing West Darfur have left behind deceased relatives.
The RSF, originally composed of Arab tribesmen from Darfur, has been accused of targeting the Massalit community and other non-Arab groups. The recent atrocities unfolded following the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from the 15th Infantry Division garrison in Ardamata, marking a continuation of the conflict that erupted on April 15th between the RSF and the Sudanese military.
International bodies, including the United Nations, have condemned the RSF and its allied militias, vowing to investigate the reported violations. The situation has sparked concern globally, with the RSF denying responsibility for the massacres and asserting normalcy in the affected region.
(with Reuters inputs)