Death and Destruction in El Geneina
Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is enraged by the recent death and destruction in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur. As Radio Dabanga has covered, at least 230 people have reportedly died and 350 wounded. The actual death toll of the clashes is likely higher; according to the Assistant Commissioner for Refugees in Darfur, hundreds of the dead and wounded went uncounted. These brutal acts of compounding violence targeting innocent civilians are a further reminder that the Sudanese military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to negatively impact the humanitarian situation in Darfur and the innocent people in the region.
Ethnic violence continued last Tuesday when armed Arab militants took part in a large-scale attack on the city of El Geneina, shooting everything that could move and burning homes in various neighborhoods and displacement camps. Due to the catastrophic effects of the violence, several health centers had to close despite more than 60 wounded people needing urgent surgical interventions. Meanwhile, attackers had looted banks, pharmacies, hospitals, and markets, leaving survivors without access to medical care and medication. Attempts to retrieve the fallen from the streets had paused due to armed gunmen firing at volunteers. Later that day, the warring ethnic groups in El Geneina signed a truce, which has so far resulted in an uneasy calm.
The humanitarian conditions for internally displaced persons (IDP) who previously sought shelter in the city have proven horrific. IDPs were forced to sleep on the streets, in addition to facing a shortage of food and water. Native administration leaders of the Masalit ethnic group organized a meeting to discuss solutions to the violence and humanitarian crisis. The tribe leader and Sultan, Sa’ad Bahreldin, emphasized the urgent need for native leaders to act in the absence of other authorities: “No security forces have intervened so far.”
The tragedy is that it has taken violent conflict between the army and RSF in Khartoum to get the international community to pay attention to Sudan and Darfur. The RSF grew from the Janjaweed militias that have perpetrated the genocide in Darfur, yet the international community has ignored that connection. With the world watches the situation in Khartoum, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence and impunity for perpetrators of genocide, who are also the same people plunging the whole country into civil war.
As such, DWAG calls for immediate action to assist the people of Darfur. We urgently pressure both sides to stop the fighting and open unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need across Sudan, particularly in Darfur and other crisis-affected areas. DWAG calls on the United States, the international community, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take the following measures:
We at DWAG equally urge our supporters to speak up, spread the word, and demand their leaders to take swift action to end the suffering and bring lasting peace and stability in Sudan. We must continue to make our voices louder and demand accountability. With our collective effort, we can make a difference and end the suffering across Sudan.
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