As the armed conflict in Sudan enters its third month, as the conflict sparked on April 15, it is widely feared that the killing of the governor of West Darfur state, By transferring the tension resulting from the war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces into a civil war, the fire of which may burn the entire countryreminiscent of the long, bloody conflict that Darfur witnessed in 2003, which led to the deaths of more than 300 thousand and about two million refugees and displaced persons, and because of which the International Criminal Court charged former President Omar Al-Bashir, and a number of his senior aides, with charges related to war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of ethnic cleansing. .
Several parties were involved The killing of the governor of West Darfur after his arrest at the hands of the Rapid Support Forcesamid calls for intervention in the region, which the United Nations has warned of “crimes against humanity” in it.
The army said that the support forces kidnapped and killed Khamis Abkar on Wednesday night, hours after he accused them of “destroying” the city of El Geneina. For its part, the support forces held the “outlaws” responsible for killing him.
Serious escalation of the conflict
The killing of earlier represents an escalation in the conflict that erupted on April 15 between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo “Hamidti”, and coincides with increasing warnings of the deterioration of conditions in the Darfur region, which has suffered during two decades of bloody conflict, especially in El Geneina, the center of West Darfur. It is one of the five states of the region located in western Sudan at the border with Chad.
Al-Burhan condemned the “treacherous attack,” saying in a statement that what the support forces are carrying out “in terms of killing, looting, and terrorizing citizens, and targeting service and development facilities in the city of El Geneina, reflects the extent of the atrocities committed by the rebel forces against defenseless innocents.”
The support forces condemned the killing of Abkar, stressing that it took place “at the hands of outlaws… against the background of the raging tribal conflict in the state.”
She said that a group of “one of the tribal components” raided Abkar’s headquarters, which prompted him to seek “protection from the Rapid Support Forces,” who “cleared him… and brought him to a government headquarters.” However, “the outlaws raided the place in large numbers” and clashed with members of the support forces, “which led to the situation getting out of control.”
It called for “the formation of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the events that took place in the state and led to the death of the governor and hundreds of citizens.”
However, the United Nations held the support forces responsible for the “heinous act”.
“Convincing eyewitness accounts attribute this act to Arab militias and the Rapid Support Forces,” the organization’s mission said in a statement, calling for “the perpetrators to be brought quickly to justice and not to further expand the circle of violence in the region.”
“Darfur people are living a nightmare”
In New York, the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs official, Martin Griffiths, considered that the Darfur region, whose population is living in a “nightmare” because of the war in Sudan, which has entered its third month, is heading towards a new “humanitarian catastrophe” that the world must prevent.
Griffiths said in a statement that “Darfur is rapidly heading towards a humanitarian catastrophe. The world cannot allow this to happen. Not once again.”
For its part, Washington strongly condemned the “horrific acts of violence” in Sudan, saying that reports of human rights violations committed by the Rapid Support Forces were “credible”. A State Department spokesperson said, “Victims and human rights groups have credibly accused RSF soldiers and allied armed groups of rape and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence.”
“Today’s atrocities in West Darfur and elsewhere are an ominous reminder of the horrific events that led the United States to determine in 2004 that genocide had been committed in Darfur,” he added.
“brutality and cruelty”
Darfur is home to about a quarter of the country’s roughly 45 million people. In the past two decades, the conflict has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations. During the conflict, former President Omar al-Bashir resorted to the “Janjaweed” militia to support his forces in confronting ethnic minorities. The Rapid Support Forces were officially established in 2013 from the womb of these militias.
Abkar was the leader of one of the rebel movements that signed the Juba Peace Agreement with the government in 2020 in an effort to end the conflict.
Earlier, the head of the UN mission, Volker Peretz, warned earlier that the violence in Darfur, especially in El Geneina, could amount to “crimes against humanity.”
In its statement Thursday, the mission called for “the immediate cessation of all military operations in order to calm the situation, address the increasing ethnic violence, allow access to humanitarian aid, and prevent further deterioration that could lead to large-scale conflict.”
Large waves of displacement and asylum
According to the latest figures from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the conflict has claimed more than 2,000 lives. However, the actual numbers may be much higher, according to aid agencies and international organizations.
According to the International Organization for Migration, more than two million people have been displaced, and more than 528,000 of them have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Internally, thousands of people took refuge in the city of Madani, about 200 km south of Khartoum, which remained untouched by the violence.
On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders said its teams in Madani had witnessed an “alarming increase in the number of arrivals from Khartoum”.
On Thursday, residents of the capital reported that the authorities “prevented cars coming from the states from heading to Khartoum without giving reasons.”
In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority extended the closure of airspace until June 30, with the exception of “humanitarian aid flights and evacuation flights after obtaining a permit from the competent authorities.”
Twenty-five million people need assistance and protection, according to the United Nations, but as of late May, only 13 percent of the organization’s needs had been funded.
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