United Nations, United States express worry over West Darfur violence

United Nations, United States express worry over West Darfur violence

As conflict in Sudan continues, the United States and the United Nations have expressed grave worry about the situation in Sudan’s West Darfur region, warning that it could lead to a recurrence of past mass atrocities such as sexual violence and genocide.

The war between Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces which started on April 15 has spread to other cities in the Kordofan and Darfur regions.

The United States faults the Rapid Support Forces and allied militias for the violence that has entered the third month. Washington also blamed the army aircraft and drone attacks for obstructing humanitarian efforts.

In its part, the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said it had received allegations of “shocking incidents of sexual violence,” including combatants invading civilian homes and stopping people at checkpoints as they attempted to flee battle zones.

Several US and Sudanese activist and civil society groups demanded that RSF leaders be held accountable for failing to rein in their forces.

They also demanded that the army be held accountable for failing to protect civilians.

Darfur was the site of a genocide in the early 2000s, when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing Khartoum’s Arab-dominated government of racial bias.

Concerned stakeholders, including the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guteress, have warned that the war could take ethnic dimension if nothing is being done as soon as possible.

The United Nations earlier noted that the conflict in Sudan had displaced more than 2 million people, and escalating attacks in Darfur could amount to “crimes against humanity”.

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