Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is deeply saddened by the brutal attacks the people of South Darfur have recently endured at the hands of armed herders. At least 15 villagers east of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, lost their lives; while about 30 suffered injuries, and tens of thousands of innocent civilians were left without food, shelter, or health assistance.

Last Wednesday and Friday, Arab militias backed by the regime launched a series of violent assaults on farmers and their communities, including one large-scale attack on Friday where they used machine guns and four-wheel drive vehicles. These herders burned down several houses in 9 villages – those of Amouri, Tagali, Um Tereina, Humeida, Fasha, Erikong, Hajir Simbo, Sa’engo, and Jemeiza. 

This mass violence forced virtually all villagers in the vicinity to leave their homes, and thus resulted in the displacement of more than 16,000 people. In addition, government forces left the area, and South Darfur authorities later imposed a state of emergency. On Friday, activists in Nyala protested the lack of security, blaming the local government for it. Victims also held the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) responsible, identifying the attackers as having worn RSF uniforms and demanding the removal of other RSF troops from the area. One of the leaders of the Daju people of Sudan, Mr. Saleh Eisa, called for “international protection for all civilians in Darfur”. 

These attacks are not isolated incidents, but rather part of an ongoing genocidal campaign against indigenous Africans in Darfur that has been continuing for over 20 years. The militias launched this attack immediately after the harvest season, aiming to kill people using not only bullets but also starvation by burning their crops so they will not have any means of sustenance. These attacks continued because of the international community’s inaction and the total impunity for those who were responsible for committing crimes in Darfur, including the former president Al-Bashir and several other officials wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

DWAG urges the international community particularly the member states of the UNSC and the US government to take swift action to save lives in Darfur and hold the government of Sudan accountable. We demand that those responsible for the violence face justice for their crimes.

In the face of brutality and gross human rights abuse, the international community has a responsibility to protect the vulnerable as per international law. Therefore, DWAG calls on the Biden Administration and the member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take the following actions to end the suffering and stop genocidal attacks in Darfur:

As the eyes of the international community focus on national negotiations on restoring the civilian government, they must understand that no solution to Sudan’s problem can succeed while attacks on civilians keep taking place in Darfur. We must prioritize accountability first in order to resolve the problems of Sudan. Impunity for these serious crimes cannot be an option. 

We urge our supporters and the public to speak up for the people of Darfur and tell their leaders that silence only kills people. We must stand in solidarity with Darfur and urge the international community to authorize neutral UN or international forces to protect civilians and prevent political and ethnic violence. We must continue to make our voice louder and demand accountability. With our collective effort, we can make a difference and end the suffering across Sudan.