UN Discovers Mass Grave in Darfur with 87 Victims of Sudan Conflict
The United Nations (UN) has uncovered a mass grave containing at least 87 bodies in Darfur, Sudan, allegedly killed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The grave, located just outside El-Geneina, is said to contain victims from the Masalit community.
Fierce clashes between the RSF and Sudan's armed forces have been ongoing since April, resulting in a significant loss of life and displacement of millions of people. The regular army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has been engaged in combat with the RSF, led by al-Burhan's former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, also known as "Hemedti."
According to the UN, 37 bodies were buried in the West Darfur region on June 20, followed by an additional 50 bodies at the same site the next day. Among the victims were women and children. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, expressed shock and condemnation at the disrespectful treatment of the deceased and called for a thorough investigation into their deaths. He emphasized that the RSF has a responsibility to handle the deceased with dignity.
The RSF and their allied militias have denied any involvement in the recent fighting in West Darfur. Just this week, they rejected allegations from Human Rights Watch that they had killed 28 members of the Masalit community and caused injuries to numerous civilians before destroying the town of Misterei in May. Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim, an adviser to the RSF leadership, claimed that the clashes were part of an ongoing civil war between Arab groups and the Masalit, which he described as an old and recurring conflict.
Tensions have been escalating, with the West Darfur governor being killed shortly after accusing the RSF of committing genocide against the Masalit people. The Masalit community, predominantly Muslim, has long accused successive Sudanese governments of favoring "Arabism" and neglecting their basic needs, such as education and healthcare.
There are growing concerns that the attacks by the RSF and Arab militias against the Masalit community could lead to a repeat of the Darfur killings in 2003. During that period, the Janjaweed militias, which eventually evolved into the RSF, were responsible for the deaths of 300,000 people. The UN has already received reports of Arab militias targeting Masalit men, and the conflict has taken on an increasingly ethnic dimension.
The discovery of the mass grave underscores the urgent need for international attention and intervention to address the escalating violence and protect vulnerable communities in Darfur. The UN and other global entities must work together to ensure accountability for these crimes and prevent further loss of life in the region.