Another Deadly Attack on Civilians In Darfur

On July 17, a violent artillery attack on the Sortony camp in the suburb of Kebkabiya left 17 people dead, including seven women and five children. Nine people were hospitalized with severe injuries, including seven women and two children. Nearly 300 shops were looted and many houses were burnt to the ground in the attack. The residents of the camp sought refuge in the caves of Jebel Marra or were left without shelter in East Rokero. Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) strongly condemns this barbaric attack and calls on the interim government and the state’s authority to take immediate and necessary measures to provide protection for the vulnerable and hold the responsible accountable. 

The Coordination of Displaced Persons and Refugees in North Darfur reported that the telephone network was offline during the attack, leaving residents unable to contact those outside the camp or effectively count the victims. The coordination accused regular and unspecified peace-signed forces of perpetrating the attack that lasted for two days. Hundreds of protestors gathered in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, to decry the violence and march in solidarity with the displaced. DWAG amplifies their demands for the state government to bring those responsible to justice and protect Sortony as well as the other Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps overrun by violence and insecurity. In wake of UNAMID withdrawal, the interim government of Sudan has promised peace and protection only to give false hope to the suffering people of Darfur and the international community. Civilians across Darfur have see neither peace nor protection 

The most recent attack on Sortony is the latest in a litany of violent incidents within the displaced community in Darfur. The Kebkabiya locality currently hosts thousands of IDPs, the majority of them women and women-headed households. The Sortony camp was formed near a UNAMID base and after UNAMID withdrew on January 1, 2021, thousands of displaced people have been left vulnerable to attacks. A clash in El Sareif during April forced nearly 3,500 Darfuri from their homes, many of them relocating to the Sortony camp. The BBC reported yesterday on the surge in violence across Darfur and have implicated RSF and other armed forces in contributing to the violence, rather than actively seeking peace and disarming unregulated militias as they promised in the peace agreement. Insecurity devastates the intentionally unprotected displaced populations in Darfur – a pattern which culminates into an organized effort to destabilize camps in Darfur. These attacks are a clear sign of abhorrent negligence by the state government to provide security to vulnerable populations in Darfur. Furthermore, the implication of state-sanctioned forces in the slaughter is unquestionable evidence of the complicity of the interim government in continuing to enable the perpetration of the Darfur genocide.

DWAG urgently demands Prime Minister Hamdok and recently appointed wali (governor) of North Darfur, Nimir Mohamed Abdelrahman, to respond to the IDPs and protestors with immediate action. They must thoroughly investigate local and national forces and hold responsible parties accountable for the attack. 

DWAG calls upon the Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and the US government to press the government of Sudan and ensure that the interim government holds into account any political or military forces who endanger civilians’ lives and to bring them to justice. 

  • The US must not condone the unrelenting insecurity in Darfur nor deny the role of the interim government in their ongoing oppression of the people of Darfur.
  • The US must make every support or normalization of relations with Sudan hinge on the condition of effective civilian protection, protection of human rights and accountability for the past and present crimes committed against innocent civilians in Darfur and across Sudan.
  • DWAG further calls upon UNSC members to review UNITAMS’s mandate and authorize a civilian protection force to be deployed into Darfur and Sudan at large to provide adequate, uncompromised civilian protection throughout the interim period. With a civilian protection mandate, the UN has the ability to ensure that peace and stability can take root in Darfur, the two areas and across the Sudan.

DWAG urges our supporters to speak up for the people of Darfur and demand that their leaders take concerted action that will end the long suffering in Darfur. Please help us spread the word by sharing this statement to raise alarms and put pressure on both the interim government and international community. We must compel them to meet their obligation for civilians protection and attain a lasting end to genocide in Darfur.