Since April 15, battles have been taking place between the army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The battles are concentrated in Khartoum and in the Darfur region, which in turn suffered over two decades of bloody conflicts.
The head of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, Volker Peretz, warned that the violence taking place in the Darfur region may amount to “crimes against humanity.”
“The security, human rights and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate rapidly throughout the country, especially in the greater Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan regions,” Peretz said in a statement on Tuesday, since the latest fighting broke out in April.
“As the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate, I am particularly concerned about the situation in El Geneina (West Darfur), following the various waves of violence since late April, which have taken on ethnic dimensions,” Peretz added.
Peretz also said: “There is an emerging pattern of large-scale attacks targeting civilians, based on their ethnic identities, allegedly perpetrated by Arab militias, some armed men in RSF uniforms. These reports are extremely disturbing and, if verified, could amount to crimes against humanity.”
Since the conflict began, more than 1,800 people have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), but the actual number of casualties could be much higher, according to aid agencies and international organizations. According to United Nations figures, the conflict has displaced nearly two million people.
The governor of Darfur, Minni Minawi, who recently called on the population to take up arms, declared in early June that the region had become a “disaster area”.
He spoke of “horrible violations” committed by militants in the region, and condemned the “looting and killing” taking place in several areas. Minnawi said: “We declare Darfur a disaster area and call on the world to send humanitarian materials across all borders and by all available means.”
And on Saturday, Minnawi said on Twitter that “what happened and is still happening in the cities of El Geneina and Kutum (in the state of North Darfur), cannot pass without an international investigation.” The governor of West Darfur state, Khamis Abdullah Abkar, had previously warned that “the situation in the state is a complete state of lawlessness.”
At the beginning of the third millennium, the Darfur region witnessed a bloody conflict that killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations.
The International Criminal Court charged Al-Bashir and a number of his aides with committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
During the conflict in Darfur, Al-Bashir resorted to the “Janjaweed” militia to support his forces in the face of ethnic minorities in the border region with Chad. The Rapid Support Forces, which were officially established in 2013, emerged from the womb of these militias.
Peretz expressed the United Nations’ condemnation “in the strongest terms of all attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, whatever their form and by whatever alleged perpetrators,” stressing the need for “security forces and non-state armed actors to fulfill their duty under international humanitarian law, which is to respect the right to life.” and refrain from attacks against civilians.”
Last week, the Sudanese government considered Peretz “persona non grata”, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his confidence in him, and Al-Burhan had previously requested Peretz’s replacement, accusing him of fueling the conflict.