‘Ethnic cleansing’ continues in West Darfur

Refugee children from Darfur playing with clay toys in Adré camp in Chad (Photo: Bashir Adam / Radio Dabanga)


An omda from the West Darfur capital El Geneina, who fled to Chad, says that ethnically-motivated attacks in the area continue. “Gunmen have lists containing names of activists, medical doctors, merchants, and community leaders. They are searching for their targets in neighbourhoods to assassinate them,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people from Sudan are fleeing daily to Chad due to the escalating violence in and around El Geneina, native administration leader Omda Salih Hasan, told Radio Dabanga on Monday.

Ethnically motivated killings continue and members of certain ethnic groups are not allowed to cross the border, Hasan said.

He explained that the war in El Geneina is not between the Masalit and the Arab tribes. “All ethnicities* that did not join the janjaweed are targeted, which forced most of them to seek refuge in Chad, including Arab tribesmen.”

“This is ethnic cleansing and the international community must activate Chapter VII of the UN charter**,” the omda concluded.

Sultan Sa’d Bahreldin, Sultan of Dar Masalit, who made it safely to eastern Chad, reported end June that roughly 70 per cent of the population of El Geneina has sought refuge in the Chadian towns of Adré and Abéché. A number of his relatives have been killed.

Two weeks ago, four lawyers were deliberately targeted and killed in West Darfur for their involvement in reporting past incidents.

Earlier last month, Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) Volker Perthes said that there is an emerging pattern of large-scale targeted attacks against people in Darfur, allegedly committed by Arab gunmen and armed men wearing Rapid Support Force (RSF) uniforms.

Radio Dabanga published a longer analysis of the situation in El Geneina in June, based on witness accounts from people who fled to Chad, Radio Dabanga correspondents, and international health workers.


The war currently raging in Sudan has caused a large displacement of people seeking safety in neighbouring Chad. According to the latest figures, more than 190,000 people have crossed the Chadian border so far, and numbers continue to increase.

In a tweet last Tuesday, the representative of the UN refugee agency Laura Lo Castro said that “every thirty seconds, five families from Sudan cross the border into Chad through Adré. Following the big wave of refugees on June 14, and June 16, around 4,300 refugees cross the border every day.”

A survivor of the El Geneina violence told Radio Dabanga last week that the gunmen ask those fleeing about their tribal background and that Masalit are not allowed to cross the border into Chad.

* The main tribes of West Darfur are the Masalit, Eringa, the Gimir, the Zaghawa, and the ‘Arab’ Misseriya Jebel. The non-Arab Masalit, constituting the majority, straddle the Sudan-Chad border.

** Chapter VII of the UN Charter sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace. It allows the council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security”.