West Darfur State has experienced violence which last left more than 191 people injured and over 87 killed:
From 3rd to 6th April 2021, violent clashes broke out in different areas in El Geneina, West Darfur state between members of the Arab militia groups and Masalit tribal communities. The conflict has left many civilians in the towns and camps for the displaced dead and injured. Whilst the UN Humanitarian Agency, OCHA, and the local Doctors Committee have put the figures of the dead and injured to approximately 87 and 191 respectively, other sources claim up to 200 victims were wounded and more than 100 killed. The precarious security situation has made it difficult to independently verify the numbers of persons killed and injured.
In El, Geneina reports indicate that several hospitals have been damaged in the fighting, including the Sultan Tajeldin Hospital that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG-7) which disrupted the delivery of various health care services in the facility. In addition, the Doctor’s Committee in El-Geneina reported receiving overwhelming numbers of wounded victims and dead bodies in several health facilities like the El Geneina Teaching Hospital, Al Naseem Clinic, and Al Wahda Medical Hospital. At the time of reporting, the Committee also maintained that more than 30 surgeries had been performed, and hospitals were still receiving more victims.
The Government reportedly sent two helicopters to evacuate the injured to Khartoum. An RPG also landed in a UN compound and homes of other government personnel. Many people have lamented that the government of West Darfur state has failed to stop the perpetuation of human rights violations and abuses which has continued to escalate. Violence broke out earlier this year in El Geneina, leaving scores dead and injured. And, this followed the pattern of violence that was unleashed on the communities at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020.
According to our local monitors, despite the attacks which raged on for days, especially in the southern and western neighborhoods of El Geneina state, the government could not stop the inter-tribal conflicts. Arab militias, including some reportedly from Sarfa Amra in North Darfur and from Chad, are largely armed with heavy a weapon which is used against others who are not so heavily resourced.
The Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission in West Darfur reported that people are fleeing into neighboring Chad and that the number of deaths and injuries has continued to rise.
The violence which began on April 3, 2021, was sparked by the killing of two civilians, members of the Arab tribe by unknown groups of militiamen in the city of the Hi Jabal area in El-Geinena. The Arab community blamed the Masalite tribe for killing the two civilians and demanded that the government of West Darfur arrest and bring the perpetrators to book, but the state government reportedly failed to take action.
On 5 April 2021, the Security and Defence Council declared a state of emergency for West Darfur. Additionally, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) were deployed , authorized to take all necessary measures to resolve the tribal clashes and confiscate illegal weapons.
However, on 6 April, the shooting by Arab militias continued across the city. The militias attacked a number of residential neighborhoods and indiscriminately set fire to homesteads. About 3,800 people reportedly fled to the nearby mosques and public buildings in the areas of Hi Jabal, Eshra buyut, Al tadamon, Al thawra, Abuzar and Hajjaj IDP Camps and in the university of Zallingei. The local power station was also hit and damaged, causing total power cuts.
During the reporting period, criminal gangs opened fire on an ambulance that was carrying a number of medical personnel working in Al-Geneina Teaching Hospital. The driver was injured and the medical cadres and a security guard were forcibly taken out of the ambulance where they were beaten and injured and all their belongings looted.
El Geneina Town is a regional hub for aid delivery to all surrounding villages, and the fighting which resulted in the suspension of humanitarian operations has had repercussions across the state. The violence further deteriorates a dire situation of human rights, especially for women and children. The need to urgently restore humanitarian activities cannot be understated.
- GoS in west Darfur to take concrete action to stop such attacks by Arab militia groups against the civilian population and immediately launch proper investigations into the attacks;
- The Government to put in place mechanisms to enable the protection of civilians in the Darfur region;
- Sudan’s transitional governments to initiate voluntary and forceful disarmament and ensure the rule of law in Darfur region;
- Appeals to health care and humanitarian organizations for urgent intervention to save lives, due to the destruction of the health center buildings and other medical facilities in the state which has disrupted various health care services delivery; and
- The international community, particularly the European Union, United Nations, and African Union, support the Transitional Government of Sudan to meet its legal obligations to protect civilians in the Darfur region under international human rights and humanitarian law.