Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

HRW Accuses Sudan's RSF Leaders of Ethnic Cleansing in Geneina

Fri 10 May 2024 | 03:15 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has held the commander of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti", his brother Abdel Rahim, and the RSF sector commander in West Darfur, Abdel Rahman Jumaa Baraka, accountable for ethnic cleansing crimes committed in Geneina, West Darfur.

On Thursday, the rights organization released a report titled “The Masalit Will Not Return Home: Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes Against Humanity in Geneina,” documenting attacks by the RSF and allied militias on neighborhoods predominantly inhabited by the Masalit ethnic group.

The report, reviewed by "Sudan Tribune," states, “The targeting of the Masalit and other non-Arab groups, with the intent to permanently drive them from the area, constitutes ethnic cleansing.” It emphasized the particular context in which these mass killings occurred, suggesting that the RSF and its allies may have intended to partially or completely destroy the Masalit in West Darfur, indicating possible genocide.

HRW also assigned responsibility to RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti", his brother Abdel Rahim, and RSF commander in West Darfur Abdel Rahman Jumaa Baraka for leading the forces that executed these crimes.

The report identified allies of the RSF who bear responsibility for fighters committing grave violations, including the commander of the Third Front – Tamaazuj and two Arab tribal leaders.

**Horrific Details**

HRW stated that RSF and allied militia attacks in Geneina have killed thousands, with crimes against humanity and widespread war crimes committed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Masalit ethnicity.

The RSF clashed with a military convoy in Geneina on April 24, 2023, subsequently attacking Masalit neighborhoods and engaging with majority Masalit armed groups defending their areas.

“Over the following weeks, even after Masalit armed groups lost control of their neighborhoods, the RSF and militias systematically targeted unarmed civilians,” HRW added.

The violence peaked in a massive massacre on June 15, 2023, when the RSF and their allies fired on a several-kilometer-long convoy of civilians desperately trying to flee alongside Masalit fighters.

The RSF and militias fired on women, children, and men running in the streets or attempting to swim to the other side of a roaring river, resulting in many drownings.

**Documented Testimonies**

HRW interviewed 220 people in Chad, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan, and its researchers reviewed and analyzed 120 photos, videos, satellite images, and documents shared by humanitarian organizations to support accounts of severe violations in Geneina.

In November 2023, HRW reported that the RSF and militias escalated their violations again, targeting Masalit residents who had sought refuge in the Ardmta area in Geneina.