Following the violent attacks in Misterei and Fata Bono, Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) would like to speak out against the continuation of brutality in Darfur. Many civilians in the region have gathered to protest against the injustice and irresponsibility of the Sudanese interim government in response to the atrocities, but no substantial action has been made for the active protection of the civilian and displaced population.
On August 2nd, shots were fired in the Kass locality in South Darfur when a large group of gunmen and two battalions of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) met, leaving 11 civilian villagers and four RSF soldiers suffering bullet wounds. More than 10 villages near Kass, South Darfur have reported attacks by Arab militia groups between July 31st to August 1st. The attack happened just after the release of two militia leaders and RSF members in the Kass locality, who were arrested on charges of targeting and killing civilians as well as looting property. Protesters had organized peaceful demonstrations in response to their release, urging for justice and accountability, but they were met with tear gas and live ammunition at the front of police headquarters.
Days before, on July 26th, protesters led a three-day blockade of the Khartoum-Port Sudan highway. After handing a memorandum to the Red Sea governor, Abdallah Ohaj, and witnessing the lack of official response, protesters closed the highway off for three consecutive days, demanding to include civilian governors in Kassala and El Gedaref. One of two bridges over the El Gash river were also closed to vehicles and other transports.
Despite the attack and the relentless protests for change and stability, the violence does not cease as perpetrators remain unaccounted for for their crimes. In fact, the incidents in Darfur exemplify unrest all across Sudan.
In Kadugli, fear of the Rapid Support Force (or RSF) has already sent another wave of displacement within the capital of South Kordofan. On July 28th, a protest took place in front of the state government secretariat, demanding stability amidst the repeated violence in the Kadugli region. Demonstrators presented a memorandum for secure roads, stability for the upcoming agricultural season, and justice upheld against the perpetrators in recent events. Calling upon the Secretary General of South Kordofan, Mousa Jabir, the demonstration in Kadugli is one of many that are present in Darfur, demanding accountability, peace, and security. At least 2,000 people have fled their homes after the violence that ensued the previous week.
DWAG calls upon the Sudanese interim government to take proper measures to strictly ensure and enforce the protection of the civilian and displaced population in all areas of Sudan. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has announced the deployment of additional troops to regions of conflict, which the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has embraced. However, his joint force of army soldiers, security officers, and RSF militia should not be tasked for the security of the Sudanese people, given their history of violence and brutality. With traces linking the RSF directly to the former al-Bashir regime, the people of Darfur do not trust them with their safety. Local militia, especially the RSF, have done little to protect civilians and, in fact, are responsible for the majority of the violence in the area. Adding to their forces would likely do more harm than good, and the international community needs to be aware of the RSF’s motives and the people’s lack of trust for them, ensuring that any military force placed into civilian protection is held accountable to their mandate. DWAG urges the international community, and especially UN peacekeeping forces, to intervene and put an end to the casualties and work towards lasting peace and security in Darfur. The violence must end, and those in power must take action to save Sudanese lives and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.