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World urged to protect civilians in Sudan's Darfur region as RSF surrounds city

Meanwhile, in Ethiopia, Sudanese refugees lack basic necessities, and have been subjected to attacks by armed militia, according to the Alliance of Forces for Radical Change

THE international community must act to prevent atrocities and protect civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region, a human rights charity said today.

The war between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has spread across the country since breaking out in the capital Khartoum in April 2023.

Amnesty International said today that it had received reports of the burning of villages in northern Darfur, escalating air strikes, shelling of residential areas, including the Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced people and the blocking of aid deliveries by both parties to the conflict.

“The fall of other cities in Darfur to the RSF, such as el Geneina in west Darfur last year, was followed by massive violations, including ethnically targeted attacks against non-Arab communities, deliberate killings of civilians, sexual violence against women and girls and massacres reminiscent of the crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing that took place in Darfur two decades ago,” Amnesty said.

The south-western town of el-Fasher, the only state capital in the Darfur region not under RSF control, is now surrounded by the paramilitaries and allied militias.

Those trapped inside the city and are likely to face massive rights violations in the coming days and weeks, the human rights group warned.

“The international community, including the African Union and the United Nations, must act urgently to prevent atrocities in el Fasher and its surrounding villages, to protect civilians and ensure perpetrators are held to account,” Amnesty’s east and southern Africa regional director Tigere Chagutah said.

“The conflict is having a devastating toll on civilians.

“Amnesty demands that all parties to the conflict end all deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. They must also allow unhindered and safe access of humanitarian aid and ensure safe passage for civilians who are trying to flee the violence in the city.

“The international community must act now before it is too late.”

In Ethiopia, Sudanese refugee families are facing a tragic situation, according to a statement by Sudan’s Alliance of Forces for Radical Change (AFRC).

According to the the alliance, made up of a dozen groups including the Communist Party of Sudan, the Sudanese Professionals Association and the Sudanese Women’s Union, most Sundanese refugees have been placed in camps that lack basic necessities.

It drew attention to the situation in Olala refugee camp in Ethiopia’s north-western Amhara region, where conflict rages on and off between the central government and Amhara separatists. 

The camp, the AFRC said, is no longer under the direct supervision of humanitarian organisations or the government and residents there have been subjected to attacks by armed militias.

“Given these tragic circumstances, the residents of the Olala camp have started a hunger strike, excluding pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly. It began on May 23,” the alliance said.

“We make this humanitarian appeal to the United Nations, its agencies assisting displaced persons and refugees and all human rights organisations for immediate intervention.

“We urge them to provide the necessary assistance to avert an imminent humanitarian catastrophe faced by our citizens in the Olala camp.

“We also call on the Ethiopian government to provide material and moral support and to resolve the living and security problems faced by our citizens in the Olala camp.”

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