Sudan’s Masalit Sultan in Chad: 70 per cent fled El Geneina, many face violence on the road

Sudanese refugees settle in a transit camp in Adré in Chad after fleeing violence in El Geneina, West Darfur (MSF)

ADRÉ – June 27, 2023

Sultan Sa’d Bahreldin, Sultan of Dar Masalit, made it safely to Chad and reported that roughly 70 per cent of the population of West Darfur capital El Geneina has now sought refuge in the eastern Chadian towns of Adré and Abéché but that refugees face dangerous conditions on the road.

Following his arrival in Chad, the sultan confirmed that armed bandits and militiamen are not only preventing West Darfuri refugees from crossing the border to Chad but are also actively killing, robbing, and abducting them.

Hundreds of corpses line the road between El Geneina and Adré.

Flows of refugees are still arriving in eastern Chad, ranging from 500 to 600 people a day, and the Masalit sultan expected the number to increase if safe corridors are becoming more available.

“People who fled to eastern Chad are counted and registered, but they are provided with few basic services,” he said. The sultan lauded the people living in Adré. “The food and other aid they gave us really contributed to alleviating our suffering.”

He appealed to aid organisations to provide more food and shelter for Sudanese refugees and warned of an impending malaria outbreak with the onset of the seasonal rains.

The remaining people in El Geneina are sleeping rough and suffering from the lack of water, food, and medical aid while the security situation is deteriorating even further.

Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are preventing people from leaving El Geneina and preventing vehicle owners from transporting people to Chad, forcing them to make the treacherous journey on foot instead, including the elderly, women, children, and the sick, according to Bahreldin.

Stories from the West Darfur capital are reaching the outside world predominantly through the accounts of refugees who managed to reach Chad as all communications with the town are still cut off.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called El Geneina “one of the worst places on earth”.