According to reports, the RSF and their Arab militia allies were responsible for the deaths of numerous Masalit civilians in Ardamata town, West Darfur, earlier this month.
The origins of the RSF can be traced back to the Janjaweed militias, who supported the Government in the Darfur war 20 years ago against a rebel coalition. Some of the leaders of the RSF currently have pending charges for war crimes and acts of atrocity.
“Six consecutive days of fear and chaos”
According to OHCHR Spokesman Jeremy Laurence, speaking in Geneva, initial reports from survivors and witnesses indicate that Masalit civilians were subjected to six days of fear and violence by the RSF and their allied militia following their takeover of the Sudanese army’s base in Ardamata on November 4th.
The military compound is situated near the main city of West Darfur, El Geneina. Several individuals were killed without trial or set on fire.
Numerous individuals who lost their lives were Masalit males who were also family members of Sudanese soldiers that had stayed in Ardamata even as the military personnel fled the area.
Sexual violence, torture, executions
According to Mr. Laurence, there have been reports of sexual violence against women and girls in the Ardamata camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and in certain households. As a result, thousands of individuals have been forced to leave their homes, with some seeking refuge in Chad.
According to reports, the RSF and their affiliated militias stole belongings from both Ardamata and Dorti, which are IDP camps, as well as the Al-Kabri neighborhood. These areas are primarily home to the Masalit community.
Many innocent individuals were subjected to torture and ultimately killed, with their corpses being abandoned on the streets.
The OHCHR reported that 66 Masalit men were killed without trial on November 5th in three different incidents. In the Al-Kabri district, men were separated from women and murdered. Many more men were detained and brought to detention camps run by the RSF. It is still unknown what has happened to them.
Corpses on the roads
According to Mr. Laurence, the recent attack on Masalit civilians was the second mass attack reported by the RSF and its Arab militia allies within a few months.
During the period of May to June, a large number of Masalit individuals, both male and female, as well as children, lost their lives. This included the governor of West Darfur. Numerous were laid to rest in collective graves, while certain corpses were abandoned on the streets.
He stated that these types of attacks may be considered as violations of international laws.
Additionally, he referenced grave accusations that retaliatory assaults resulted in purported attacks on Arab civilians by the Masalit militias.
Appeal for condemnation
He declared that any infractions must be ceased immediately and the culprits should be held accountable through comprehensive, unbiased investigations.
In June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, reiterated the request for the RSF leaders to clearly denounce and cease the acts of violence, including killings and hate speech, that are directed towards civilians due to their ethnicity.
He stated that amidst concerning accounts of a potential attack by the RSF on El Fasher, the main city of North Darfur, it is important to remind all parties involved in the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. This includes protecting civilians and civilian structures.