A new report by the United Nations has revealed that up to 15,000 people, mostly from ethnic minority groups, were killed in a brutal campaign of violence in the Sudanese city of El Geneina earlier this year.
The report, released on Tuesday, said that the violence was triggered by a clash between members of the Arab Rizeigat and the non-Arab Masalit tribes on January 15, 2024, and escalated into a widespread attack on civilians by armed militias.
The report said that the militias, supported by some elements of the Sudanese security forces, targeted Masalit neighborhoods and villages, as well as other non-Arab groups, such as the Fur, Zaghawa, and Berti.
The report documented horrific atrocities, including mass killings, rapes, torture, looting, and burning of houses. It also said that the militias prevented humanitarian access and medical evacuation of the wounded, and that some victims were buried in mass graves.
The report estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people were killed in the violence, based on testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and local authorities. It also said that more than 100,000 people were displaced and are in urgent need of protection and assistance.
The report called on the Sudanese government to ensure accountability for the perpetrators and to restore security and rule of law in the region. It also urged the international community to support the humanitarian response and the peace process in Sudan.
The report is the first comprehensive investigation into the violence in El Geneina, which is the capital of West Darfur state. The state has been plagued by inter-communal conflicts for years, fueled by competition over land and resources, and exacerbated by the presence of arms and militias.
The violence in El Geneina is one of the worst episodes of bloodshed in Sudan since the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.