The European Union on Sunday condemned an escalation of violence in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

It warned of the risk of “further genocide” in Darfur.

The region has been destabilized since April due to a conflict between the regular Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries.

What has the EU said about violence in Darfur?

EU top diplomat Josep Borrell condemned the atrocities against the Masalit people in Darfur and spoke of an “ethnic cleansing campaign”.

“These latest atrocities appear to be part of a broader ethnic cleansing campaign by the RSF to eradicate the non-Arab Masalit community from West Darfur, and add to the first wave of major violence in June,” Borrell said.

“The international community cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in Darfur and allow another genocide to occur in this region,” he said.

The Masalit are an ethnic group living primarily in Chad and Darfur in Sudan.

Between 2003 and 2008, Khartoum supported the Arab Janjawid militias in defeating rebel groups in Darfur, whose members included Masalits, resulting in widespread attacks against civilians. During this period, around 300,000 people were killed and over 2 million displaced in the region.

The RSF emerged largely from the Janjaweed militias

The statement said there were “credible eyewitness reports that more than a thousand members of the Masalit community in Ardamta, West Darfur, were killed in just over two days in major attacks by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)” and its affiliated militias .

Troops loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have been at war with Mohamed Hamdan Daglo’s RSF since April. Image: Hussein Malla/AP/Picture Alliance

What is the situation in Sudan?

Since April, troops loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s de facto head of state, have been at war with the RSF under the command of his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Last week, the RSF said it had taken control of the army headquarters in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur. The city has a majority Masalite population, while most of Sudan is predominantly Arab.

The Reuters news agency reported that the RSF and allied Arab militias carried out systematic attacks on the Masalit population for weeks between April and June 2023.

On Friday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Clementine Nkweta-Salami said: “What is happening?” [in Darfur] borders on pure evil,” referring to reports of rape and other atrocities. She expressed fears of a repeat of the genocide committed in Darfur in the 2000s.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 100 accommodations in a refugee camp in Ardamta were destroyed.

sdi/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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