UN Security Council urged to consider all options to protect Sudan’s Darfur civilians
An international watchdog urged the United Nations Security Council on Monday to consider all options to protect civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region after the latest attacks on non-Arabs killed hundreds of civilians. AP reports.
The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which was born out of the notorious Janjaweed militias, has been at war against the Sudanese military since mid-April, when months of tension exploded into open fighting in the capital, Khartoum, and other urban areas in the African nation.
The conflict wrecked the country and forced more than 6 million people out of their homes, either to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighboring countries.
In the first week of November, the RSF and their allied Arab militias attacked the town of Ardamata, a few kilometers (miles) north of Geneina, the provincial capital of West Darfur, Human Rights Watch said. After taking over a military base in Ardamata, the attackers rampaged through the camp for displaced people and other nearby residential areas that were all largely inhabited by the African Masalit tribe and other non-Arab groups, according to the rights group.
More than 800 people were reportedly killed in the multi-day assault, according to the UN refugee agency.
People who fled Ardamata described a spree of killings, shelling, unlawful detentions, sexual violence, ill-treatment, and looting in the town, HRW said.
The RSF and their allied militias shot at civilians as they fled, and executed people in their homes, shelters, and in the streets, they said.
A 45-year-old Masalit farmer said Arab militiamen accompanied by RSF vehicles entered the house where he was sheltering in Ardamata camp on Nov 7. They brought seven men to the front of the house, the man told HRW.
“They told me to come out of the house,” HRW quoted the man as saying. “The moment I came out, one or two of the Arabs shot at the seven men from close range. They immediately executed them.”
Mohamed Osman, HRW’s Sudan researcher, said the attack on Ardamata was the RSF’s “latest episode of ethnically targeted killings,” which bears the hallmarks of “an organized campaign of atrocities against Masalit civilians.”
“The UN Security Council needs to stop ignoring the desperate need to protect Darfur civilians,” he said. “Regional and international actors have ignored the alarms that survivors have raised for months on the risks of further atrocities in West Darfur.”