The United Nations has warned that the violence in the Darfur region may amount to “crimes against humanity”, and indicated the spread of waves of violence there with “ethnic dimensions”.
The head of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, Volker Peretz, said – in a statement – that since the recent fighting broke out in April between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, “the security, human rights and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate rapidly throughout the country, especially in the greater Khartoum areas.” Darfur and Kordofan.
The UN official expressed his concern in particular about the situation in El Geneina (West Darfur), in the wake of the various waves of violence “which have taken on ethnic dimensions”.
He spoke of “an emerging pattern of widespread attacks targeting civilians on the basis of their ethnic identities, allegedly perpetrated by Arab militias and 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 victims may 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”.
Minnawi spoke of “horrible violations” committed by militants in the region, and condemned the “looting and killing” that take place in several areas, and said, “We declare Darfur a disaster area. We call on the world to send humanitarian materials across all borders and by all available means.”
On Saturday, Minnawi wrote – via 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.
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 on attacks against civilians.
Last week, the Sudanese government considered Peretz persona non grata, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his confidence in him.