West Darfur’s El Geneina ‘obliterated’ by RSF-backed gunmen

Residents of El Geneina in West Darfur douse hotspots and pick through the devastation after days of violence end of April (social media)

EL GENEINA – June 5, 2023

People who fled from El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, to Chad say that the city is “entirely obliterated” by armed men supported by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and that the security and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.

Journalist Enaam El Nour, who left El Geneina last Thursday, told Radio Dabanga that large groups of Arab gunmen control the city whilst the state government and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are completely absent.

The southern neighbourhoods of El Geneina are completely deserted by residents due to repeated attacks by militias. Many civilians fled to neighbourhoods in the north of the city, but El Nour said that they faced repeated threats that these could be attacked too.

The attackers also control the road linking El Geneina with Chad. Multiple checkpoints are used to rob fleeing people and sometimes shoot them. Most civilians are therefore unable to reach Chad, she explained.

On Friday, a source told Radio Dabanga that “more than 440 people have died, and about 800 were injured in attacks carried out by militias and snipers”.

Humanitarian conditions

Thousands of injured people are living in dire conditions and at least seven people die each day due to lack of medical care, El Nour said.

All hospitals and pharmacies have been closed and looted. Several bodies are still left in parts of the city, some of which were decomposing. Houses are continuously at risk of being plundered and vehicles are stolen.

El Nour further told Radio Dabanga that it is predominantly the women who are venturing out to take care of daily needs because the men are targeted by militias and snipers.

All markets are closed except for the El Zariba and El Aradeiba markets but killing and looting frequently take place inside these two, El Nour warned. This makes it incredibly difficult for people to access food or drinking water.

Residents of El Geneina reported power cuts and an ongoing communication blackout in the city. Water supplies have been cut off as well.

The Governor of the Darfur Region, Minni Minawi, yesterday declared Darfur a “disaster area” and called on the world to send relief materials across all borders and by all available means.

He also condemned the egregious violations taking place in El Geneina and appealed to “the sons and daughters of Darfur” to work together to preserve the social fabric of the region.