A high-ranking UN representative has cautioned that the violence targeting innocent civilians in Sudan is reaching a level of extreme wickedness. This comes as the conflict between the military and paramilitary groups intensifies, now seven months into the war.
Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, expressed that the current situation is extremely dire and distressing. However, she also acknowledged that words alone cannot fully capture the severity of the events unfolding in Sudan.
She informed journalists that we are still receiving constant and shocking accounts of sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and serious breaches of human and children’s rights.
She expressed concern that the reports of young girls being raped in front of their mothers were a sign of extreme wickedness and could potentially lead to a repeat of the genocide that occurred in the early 2000s in this part of western Sudan.
Since April, forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan – Sudan’s de facto head of state – have been at war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) referenced reports of over 800 fatalities at the hands of armed groups in Ardamata, located in West Darfur. This area had previously experienced less conflict.
According to spokesperson William Spindler, reports have been received from recent arrivals in Chad about refugees escaping the Darfur region. These reports detail armed militia targeting homes and killing males, including boys.
According to him, these murders have allegedly occurred within the past few days.
Ardamata, among other things, houses a camp for people displaced inside Sudan, where UNHCR said nearly 100 shelters had been razed to the ground. It also warned in a statement that extensive looting had taken place, including of UNHCR relief items.
Filippo Grandi, the head of UNHCR, reiterated Nkweta-Salami’s concerns about the potential for a recurrence of the atrocities that occurred twenty years ago when Omar al-Bashir’s government deployed the Janjaweed militia in retaliation to a rebel uprising.
“In a statement, Grandi expressed concern that a similar pattern of events may be unfolding now as twenty years ago when the world was horrified by the heinous crimes and disregard for human rights in Darfur.”
The UNHCR announced that they are getting ready for an influx of refugees from the area into Chad. Chad is currently home to hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees.
According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project, the Sudan conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 individuals to date, as estimated conservatively.
However, humanitarian organizations and medical professionals have continuously cautioned that the actual number of casualties is greater than reported, as many of those injured or killed may not have had access to hospitals or morgues.
According to UN statistics, the conflict has caused over 4.8 million individuals to be uprooted within Sudan and an additional 1.2 million to seek refuge in nearby nations.