Darfur refugees report a new spate of ethnically driven killings. A fresh wave of ethnically motivated killings in Sudan’s West Darfur has been written by people escaping to Chad following the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) takeover of the main army facility in El Geneina, the state capital.
A Reuters reporter observed a group of men on Tuesday traveling from Darfur into Chad near Adre, which is around 27 kilometers (17 miles) west of El Geneina. In Ardamata, an outlying area of El Geneina where the army base and an internally displaced person’s camp (IDP) are located, three of the escapees claimed to have witnessed the killing of the Masalit ethnic minority by RSF soldiers and Arab militias.
When asked for a response, the RSF did not reply right away. It was not possible for Reuters to independently confirm the accounts of what happened.
According to Reuters, as fighting broke out in the nation between the RSF and Sudan’s army in April and June of this year, the RSF and other Arab militias launched weeks of coordinated attacks against the Masalit, El Geneina’s leading ethnic African group.
Arab tribal leaders have denied participating in ethnic cleansing in El Geneina in public statements, and the RSF has clarified that it was not a part of what it called a tribal dispute.
Although efforts to broker a truce have so far failed, mediators claimed on Tuesday that the warring sides have agreed to facilitate humanitarian delivery and confidence-building measures during talks in Jeddah.
According to nurse Nabil Meccia, he entered Chad after paying the RSF to release him from custody at the border. He said that militias had also begun shelling homes in the IDP camp early last week, which is when the attack on the army installation in Ardamata started.
He claimed to have witnessed RSF soldiers executing individuals in a line and murdering bystanders as bullets were being sprayed during operations in the Ardamata camp. Meccia, like many others, had relocated to Ardamata in the hopes of receiving army protection following this year’s attacks in El Geneina.
The military leaders had evacuated by Saturday am, according to an unnamed army soldier who escaped the Ardamata facility after a drone assault early on Friday shattered the base’s defenses.
Community leaders in Ardamata gathered guns as army personnel left their posts to ensure that people could go safely, according to Meccia and Sharaf Eddin Adam, another civilian refugee who landed in Chad.
Those who had access to cars were able to flee. In contrast, others were detained or made to work by the RSF until a few dozen people were rounded up and put to death on Sunday shortly after noon in the Kobri neighborhood of Ardamata, according to Adam.
He claimed to have seen individuals being beaten and flogged, in addition to witnessing scores of dead civilian bodies lying in the street.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that over six million people have been displaced and that a severe humanitarian catastrophe has resulted from the fighting in Sudan. According to the IOM, more than 500,000 people have entered Chad, most of whom are from West Darfur.
According to the medical organization MSF, 7,000 more migrants were entering Chad in the first three days of November than in the previous three days. It stated that the majority of the refugees were women and children, and many of them related accounts of widespread brutality against civilians.
U.N. officials in Chad said that while many more were anticipated to cross, RSF soldiers’ demands for payment had kept them from doing so.
LINKS ARE MISSING
Mashaar Omar Ahmed, another witness, claimed that after separating the males from the women in Ardamata’s District B, militia and RSF forces—some dressed in uniform, some in civilian clothes—had executed over thirty men.
She carried her 6-month-old daughter and stated, “They asked the men if they were Masalit, and they didn’t deny it.” She reported that since Sunday, ten of her family members had vanished.
After the incident, 30-year-old Sarah Adam Idris reported that her husband, siblings, and other family members were gone. She added that on Sunday morning, attackers attacked the IDP camp at Ardamata. She said that the RSF had shot, set fire to, and plundered houses, killing men despite the tribal chiefs’ requests for guarantees of safe passage.
According to the soldier, to get past the border controls with Chad, he claimed to be a civilian and denied being Masalit. According to the soldier, another individual was apprehended when RSF border officers saw an image of him wearing an army uniform on his phone.
Truck driver Abdel Karim Rahman Yacoub, who entered Chad while posing as Masalit, claimed to have witnessed the RSF murdering two more persons based on their identities.
Malik Adam Mattar Ibrahim, 42, an army soldier, claimed that although the RSF attempted to enter Chad by a longer path via the highlands, it assaulted the convoy of at least 15 cars transporting combatants and people with rocket-propelled grenades. Out of the 27 individuals crammed inside his car, just two managed to get out, he claimed.
Toby Harward, a senior U.N. official for Darfur, called the information and pictures coming out of Ardamata “sickening.” In a message on what was then known as Twitter, X pleaded with individuals in positions of power to defend citizens and provide unrestricted access to humanitarian aid.