Sudan’s paramilitaries committed ethnic cleansing and rape that may constitute war crimes

United Nations (AP) — Paramilitary forces fighting to seize power in Sudan and their allied militias controlling much of western Darfur have carried out mass ethnic killings and rapes that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Are, UN experts said. new report.

The U.N. Security Council report obtained Thursday by The Associated Press paints a dire picture The brutality of the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces Against Africans in Darfur. It also details how the RSF succeeded in gaining control over four of Darfur's five states through complex financial networks that involved dozens of companies.

Sudan descended into chaos in April amid long-running tensions between its army led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary force. Mohammed Hamdan DagaloStreet fighting broke out in the capital Khartoum.

The fighting spread to other parts of the country, but in Sudan's Darfur region it took a different form: brutal attacks by the RSF on African civilians, especially ethnic Masalit,

Two decades ago, Darfur became synonymous with genocide and war crimes, particularly by the notorious Janjaweed Arab militias against populations identifying as Central or East African. The legacy appears to have returned, with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan saying in late January that there are grounds to believe Both sides are committing potential war crimesCrimes against humanity or genocide in Darfur.

The panel of experts said Darfur was experiencing "the worst violence since 2005".

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Due to the ongoing conflict a large-scale humanitarian crisis And about 6.8 million people remain displaced — 5.4 million within Sudan and 1.4 million who have fled to other countries, including about 555,000 in neighboring Chad, experts said.

The RSF and rival Sudanese government forces have used heavy artillery and shelling in heavily populated areas, causing widespread destruction of vital water, sanitation, education and health care facilities.

In their 47-page report, the experts said RSF and its fighters targeted sites in Darfur where displaced people found shelter, civilian neighborhoods and medical facilities.

According to intelligence sources, the panel said, 10,000 to 15,000 people were killed in one city alone – Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state near the Chad border.

The Panel said that, according to reliable sources in Jenina, women and girls under the age of 14 were raped by RSF elements in a United Nations World Food Program storage facility that the paramilitary controlled, or when they gathered Were returning home to do. Goods after being displaced by violence. Additionally, 16 girls were reportedly abducted by RSF soldiers and raped in an RSF house.

"Racist comments towards Masalites and the non-Arab community were part of the attacks," the panel said. "Neighborhoods and homes were repeatedly attacked, looted, burned, and destroyed," especially those where Masalit and other African communities lived, and their people were harassed, assaulted, sexually assaulted, and were exploited and sometimes killed.

Experts said members of the dominant Masalit community were isolated by RSF, which had a list, and group leaders were harassed and some killed. He said at least two lawyers, three prominent doctors and seven staff members and human rights activists monitoring and reporting on the incidents were also killed.

The panel said the RSF and its allied militias looted and destroyed all hospitals and medical storage facilities, resulting in the collapse of health services and the deaths of 37 women suffering from childbirth complications and 200 patients undergoing kidney dialysis. The need arose.

Following the assassination of the wali, or governor, of West Darfur in June, Massalite and African communities decided to seek safety in Ardamata, just outside Jenina, the report said. The convoy of thousands of people set out at midnight, but as they reached a bridge, RSF and allied militias fired indiscriminatelyHe said, and survivors reported, that an estimated 1,000 people were killed.

The Panel stressed that disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians – including torture, rape and killings as well as the destruction of critical civilian infrastructure – are war crimes under the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The RSF was formed by former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from Janjaweed fighters who ruled the country for three decades. Overthrown during a popular uprising in 2019and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and other crimes during the conflict in Darfur in the 2000s.

According to the panel, "the RSF's occupation of Darfur depended on three lines of support: the Arab allied community, dynamic and complex financial networks, and new military supply lines running through Chad, Libya, and South Sudan."

Experts said that while both the Sudanese army and the RSF engaged in extensive recruitment campaigns in Darfur since late 2022, the RSF was more successful. And it "invested the large income from its pre-war gold business in a number of industries, creating a network of 50 companies."

RSF's complex financial networks "enabled it to acquire weapons, pay salaries, fund media campaigns, lobby, and buy the support of other political and armed groups," experts said.

United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfieldwho visited Chad in September, called the report's findings "appalling" and expressed "deep disappointment" that the UN Security Council and the international community had paid so little attention to the allegations.

"The people of Sudan feel that they have been forgotten," he said.

In view of the humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan and the wider region, Thomas-Greenfield demanded that the Sudanese military lift its ban on cross-border aid from Chad and facilitate cross-line aid from the east. They also demanded in a statement on Wednesday that the RSF stop looting humanitarian warehouses and that both parties stop harassing humanitarian aid workers.

“The Council must take immediate action to reduce human suffering, capture the perpetrators, and bring them to justice The conflict in Sudan ended,” the US ambassador said. "Time is Running Out."

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