More than 5,000 reportedly killed in El Geneina ‘genocide’

Sudanese refugees from West Darfur gathering in Adré, Chad (MSF)

EL GENEINA – June 20, 2023

The Sultanate of Dar Masalit reported that more than 5,000 people were killed and about 8,000 were left wounded in 17 attacks on West Darfur capital El Geneina between April 24 and June 12, excluding last week’s violence.

In a statement yesterday, the Sultanate described the continuing attacks on El Geneina and surrounding areas as “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. 

Footage is circulating online of piles of bodies in El Geneina and some claim that corpses were used as barricades. Women, children, and the elderly are reportedly among the dead.

Testimonies of refugees who spoke to Radio Dabanga corroborate accounts of ethnic cleansing and at least three organisations have likened the violence in El Geneina to the Rwandan Genocide. The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) has also described the situation in El Geneina as “a full-scale genocide”.

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

Communications with the town have been cut-off and the estimated number of deaths could be higher as Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) received more than 600 war-wounded West Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad in just three days last week.

Widespread destruction

According to the Sultanate, Sirba and Kereinik localities north of El Geneina and Habila and Foro Baranga, south of the city, are also besieged. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to the Chadian border on foot, including young children.

All 86 makeshift shelters for the displaced in El Geneina have been plundered and torched

More than 20 neighbourhoods in El Geneina have been plundered and torched, including all 86 makeshift shelters for the displaced in the city. The El Geneina Grand Market and the palace of the Masalit Sultanate were destroyed as well.

The Sultanate also reported the looting of all offices and warehouses of national and international organisations in El Geneina, including aid organisations, and the destruction of official state institutions’ infrastructure, especially hospitals and judicial institutions.

The Abuzar, el Hajjaj, Kerending, and Galani camps for the displaced surrounding El Geneina have been burned down, as well as seven villages adjacent to El Geneina.

In Foro Baranga, the market was plundered and about a thousand houses were set on fire, the Sultanate reported.

Children displaced by the violence in El Geneina in makeshift shelters (RD)

Terrible health conditions

Most of those suffering from chronic diseases have died because of the lack of medicines and the destruction of the dialysis centre for kidney patients at El Geneina Teaching Hospital.

Most of those suffering from chronic diseases have died

The Sultanate reported the depletion of food reserves and the destruction of water sources on top of the lack of life-saving medicines, causing malnutrition and the return of epidemic diseases such as measles and watery diarrhoea emerged.

Pregnant women are also facing miscarriages due to the shelling.


The Sultanate of Dar Masalit further accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of deliberately cutting off and destroying communication networks.

The paramilitary force was also accused of specifically targeting important figures in civil society and politics, and intellectuals, doctors, and lawyers.

Radio Dabanga reported in its analysis yesterday that the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) said that the Sultan’s family and other notables of El Geneina’s civil society were targeted with arbitrary killing, including the DBA’s own members.

On Sunday, the DBA also reported the killing of Sadig Haroun, Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid, and lawyer and DBA member Tarig El Malik during attacks on El Geneina “by militiamen and RSF elements”.

The Darfur24 news outlet recorded the killing of a number of community figures in the past week, including three mayors and several sheikhs, on top of the Sultan’s family members.

It also reported the deaths of several doctors, including Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at El Geneina University Dr. El Doma, three lawyers, a number of senior civil servants, and imams.

Those fleeing the violence are also targeted. One refugee called Nour told MSF: “Most people fled on foot heading northeast, but many were killed on this route. I can’t tell how many, but I saw many dead and wounded people lying on the ground”.

‘I saw many dead and wounded people lying on the ground’

Nour, 25, from El Geneina

He was among those who decided to leave after the governor of West Darfur was killed on Wednesday. “At that moment, we knew that the situation would get even worse,” he says.

“People started walking to Adré in Chad, but the journey was full of dangers, as we were exposed and targeted. On Thursday, while I was walking near a town called Shukri, an armed man shot me in the face, but thank God I survived, and am being treated here in Adré hospital,” Nour told MSF. 

25-year-old Nour from El Geneina after being treated by MSF medical teams in Adré Hospital (Mohammad Ghannam / MSF)

International trusteeship

The Sultanate called for placing the Dar Masalit (homeland of the Masalit tribe) under international trusteeship and for “urgent and immediate international intervention to protect civilians from acts of violence”.

It further called for the provision of food, shelter, and medicine to provide relief and for the evacuation of the wounded to a safe place to receive treatment.

West Darfur also needs protection to remove corpses and bury their deaths.

The Sultanate demanded that all RSF commanders, in particular Maj Abdelrahman Juma, reportedly responsible for the assassination of the West Darfur governor last week, and the commanders of the Central Reserve Forces be referred to international justice, possibly the International Criminal Court.