Prominent Darfur leader and his family ‘killed by RSF’ in El Geneina

Masalit Farsha Mohamed Arbab (File photo: social media)

The Sultanate of the Masalit announced that Farsha Mohamed Arbab, his son, and eight grandchildren were allegedly killed by members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the Ardamata neighbourhood in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, on Saturday. People who fled the fighting to Chad said the RSF also committed atrocities against the residents of the former Ardamata* camp for the displaced.

The Faroushiya** Eish Barra said in a statement yesterday that Arbab was “one of West Darfur’s prominent native administration leaders, and one of the oldest pillars in the Darfur region and the Sultanate of Dar Masalit in particular. He was appointed farsha of Misterei in 1959.” 

The Sovereignty Council, Sudan’s highest government body, condemned the killing of Arbab, accusing the RSF of committing the crime. In a statement yesterday, it claimed that the farsha was killed along with his son and eight grandchildren when the RSF stormed homes in Ardamata. 

An RSF commander claimed to have captured more than 700 prisoners. Activists who remained in El Geneina confirmed that several SAF officers and soldiers were captured by the RSF, with some loss of life. “There were clashes for two days leading up to the fall of the army base, though not any final pitched battle. Rather, a convoy of defenders withdrew toward Chad,” reported the Sudan War Monitor.

Civilians killed

Darfur Victims Support reported on X (formerly Twitter) that they had obtained graphic photos showing the RSF killing of dozens of civilians after they took control of the garrison of the 15th SAF Division on Saturday. “The RSF committed these crimes. We call for an independent investigation by the International Criminal Court and independent human rights organisations and for the perpetrators to be held accountable,” they said.

Videos circulating on social media also showed RSF paramilitaries harassing and assaulting people in Ardamata.

On Saturday, RSF Deputy Commander Abdelrahim Dagalo directed his forces to protect the people. He appointed Maj Abdelrahman Juma as commander of the 15th Division in El Geneina. Juma is wanted by US sanctions over accusations related to the killing of West Darfur Governor Khamees Abakar and his brother in June. 

On August 12, Representative of the Masalit tribe, Farsha Saleh Arbab, accused the RSF of seeking to obscure evidence of crimes committed in El Geneina by burying bodies in hidden locations and forcing the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) to hand over bodies.


The RSF attack caused mass displacement from Ardamata and surrounding neighbourhoods to other parts of the city, Darfur, and eastern Chad.  Sources reported that an estimated 3,000 people are crossing the border from West Darfur into Chad.

According to refugee Mohamed Yahya, the number of refugees from El Geneina to eastern Chad has risen dramatically since the RSF attacks on the 15th Division began last week. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported 1,000 people crossing Chad overnight on Friday, equivalent to the weekly influx of refugees in recent weeks. 

According to Saleh Arbab, over 90 per cent of El Geneina’s population fled the city after the RSF-led massacre, which reportedly killed over 5,000 people between April 24 and June 12. 

Internet and aid

Activists in El Geneina also said that the Zain network had been partially restored on Sunday morning. They said the internet works with satellite or Chadian networks. Shops have also started to reopen at the markets, they said. 

Late September, Masar Abdelrahman Eseil, the Amir of the Arab tribes in Darfur and deputy head of the office of the Arab Tribes Native Administration said that the city’s market and El Geneina Teaching Hospital had resumed some of their normal operations after the MSF called El Geneina “the worst place on earth” in June. 

On Sunday, two United Arab Emirates (UAE) humanitarian aid aircraft arrived at the airport of Amdjarass in northeast Chad, carrying 19 tonnes of relief items to Sudanese refugees and the local community in Chad. 

Military support by the UAE to the RSF has been the subject of several reports since the war broke out between the Sudanese army and the RSF on April 15. 

The independent Arab channel Almayadeen reported on August 10 that early in June, a cargo plane landed in Uganda’s main airport with flight records indicating it was sent by the UAE and was carrying aid for Sudanese refugees. 

Ugandan authorities said they discovered dozens of crates in the plane’s cargo hold stocked with ammunition, assault weapons, and other small weaponry, instead of the food and medical supplies indicated on the aircraft’s manifest. 

* Since 2003, when war erupted between Darfur rebel groups and the Al Bashir regime, many villagers fled to cities and towns where camps were set-up at the outskirts of these towns. The camps developed into urban areas and in many instances have become ‘new neighbourhoods’. Ardamata, inhabited by people displaced in previous years, is no exception. With the passing of time, the Ardamata camp bordering El Geneina turned into into a suburb of the West Darfur capital.

** The faroushiya (‘farsha-ship’) is one of the levels of native administration in the Sultanate of Dar Masalit (the homeland of the Masalit).