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Horrific Accounts of Darfur Ethnic Cleansing: Children Executed, Shocking Details Exposed

New Mass Ethnic Killings

New, disturbing accounts shed light on one of the most horrific incidents in the year-long Sudanese civil war: the mass killing of civilians attempting to flee an ethnic onslaught in Darfur last summer.

Witnesses recount harrowing scenes of children, still alive, being mercilessly gunned down by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) as they tried to escape the violence in the regional capital of El Geneina in June of last year. This bout of ethnic violence claimed the lives of thousands of civilians.

Compiled by Human Rights Watch, 221 witness statements provide further evidence of the Arab-led RSF’s systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against Sudan’s non-Arab Masalit tribe in West Darfur.

Human Rights Watch urges the United Nations and the African Union to immediately impose an arms embargo on Sudan and deploy a robust police force mission to Darfur to safeguard civilians.

Ethnic cleansing committed in Darfur

In a report released on Wednesday, HRW calls for sanctions against those responsible for widespread war crimes, including West Darfur RSF commander Abdel Rahman Joma’a Barakallah, RSF commander Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, and his brother Abdel Raheem.

Since clashes erupted between the RSF and Sudan’s military in April 2023, over 8 million people have been displaced, contributing to a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale, according to the UN.

The current focal point, El Fasher, is the final stronghold held by Sudan’s military in Darfur. The city is surrounded by the RSF, raising fears among diplomats of an imminent large-scale massacre.

Tirana Hassan, executive director at Human Rights Watch, warns that the atrocities in El Geneina serve as a grim reminder of the potential horrors that could be revealed without decisive action from the international community.

One of the most horrific incidents occurred in June when the RSF and its allies attacked a convoy of civilians attempting to leave El Geneina, escorted by Masalit fighters.

Witnesses recount how the RSF chased, rounded up, and ruthlessly shot men, women, and children as they fled through streets or attempted to cross the Kaja River. Many drowned in the river.

A 17-year-old survivor described the brutal killing of 12 children and five adults, stating that RSF forces separated the children from their parents, shot the parents, and then executed the children before dumping their bodies into the river.

The attacks persisted for days as tens of thousands of civilians sought refuge near the Chad border.

Additional attacks documented by HRW include an RSF assault on a makeshift medical clinic in El Geneina, where 25 injured patients were seeking treatment. One survivor recounted how armed men entered the clinic, killing everyone except him and another wounded woman, before subjecting him to torture and racial abuse.

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