Thousands of deaths, ethnic violence, violations that amount to “crimes against humanity”… A United Nations expert report evokes a dramatic situation in Darfur, in western Sudan, where fighting is raging.

Since April 15, 2023, the army of General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Al-Bourhane and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitary) of General Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, former number two in military power, have been clashing.

Overall, the conflict has already caused at least 13,000 deaths, according to an estimate by the NGO Armed Conflict Location.

“The attacks were planned, coordinated and executed by the RSF and allied Arab militias”, who “deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods (…), displaced persons camps, schools, mosques and hospitals, also looting houses and international NGO and UN sites,” the experts write.

Snipers placed on the roads

The document, sent to the members of the council but not yet officially published, does not give an overall assessment but describes in detail the “ethnic” violence in this city which fell in June 2023 into the hands of the FSR.

“The FSR and allied militias deliberately targeted the Massalit community”, the majority non-Arab ethnic group in the city, they add, also referring to snipers “placed by the FSR on the main roads” attacking civilians “without distinction , including women, pregnant women and young people”. More broadly, “in West Darfur,” the paramilitaries and their allies “systematically violated international humanitarian law.”

Attacks against civilians, torture, rapes, mass arrests, forced displacements, looting… “Some of these violations could correspond to war crimes or crimes against humanity,” say the experts.

Violations of the arms embargo

The report also denounces violations of the arms embargo, noting that from July 2023, thanks to means from the gold trade, the FSR were able to deploy “heavy and/or sophisticated”, like drones. “This new firepower has had a massive impact on the balance of power in Darfur and other parts of Sudan. » In this context, experts cite several countries, notably the United Arab Emirates.

They thus consider “credible” the statements of the number two in the Sudanese army, General Yassir Al-Atta, who in November 2023 accused the rich Gulf state of having sent weapons to the FSR. The report notably mentions a supply of weapons coming from Abu Dhabi via Chad, specifying that the Emirates “denied” these accusations in a letter sent to the committee of experts dated December 21.

In this region on the border with Chad, the Janjawids, ancestors of the FSR, are already accused of having perpetrated a “genocide” in the early 2000s, on behalf of the dictator of the time, Omar Al-Bashir.