UN rights office calls for protection, investigation after latest clashes in West Darfur

Clashes between Masalit and Arab communities in Al Geneina, which erupted last weekend, left nearly 90 people and injured more than 190 others, spokeswoman Marta Hurtado reported on Friday.

She said the situation was reminiscent of previous violence in late 2019 and last January, and similarly, authorities had failed to stop the fighting despite the presence of security forces in the city.

Obligation to disarm

“We urge the authorities to fully assume their role of protecting the population without discrimination. In this regard, we call on the Government of the Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians ”, mentionned Mrs. Hurtado, speaking of Geneva.

“All tribes responsible for the violence in Darfur must be disarmed and the state must be able to maintain order and ensure the rule of law, including by preventing armed civilians from taking justice for themselves.”

The latest round of fighting in Al Geneina was sparked after unknown assailants fired at a group of Masalit men on Saturday, killing two people and injuring a third. Armed elements of the Masalit and Arab communities mobilized following the attack.

Monday night the streets of the city were strewn with corpses, OHCHR mentionned. Several structures were destroyed or damaged, including a hospital and a UN compound, while at least one ambulance was attacked and health workers injured.

Ensure prompt investigation

The Sudanese authorities have taken steps to contain the situation and OHCHR has welcomed the Government’s commitment to address the root causes of the conflict, including disputes over land, grazing land and water resources.

“These commitments must lead to concrete actions,” said Ms. Hurtado. “Independent, impartial and thorough investigations into these acts of violence must be initiated without delay. Effective accountability processes must be put in place to pave the way for true reconciliation and lasting peace. ”

Meanwhile, the Sudanese attorney general announced that 15 prosecutors had been sent to West Darfur to investigate the latest violence. OHCHR also welcomed the measures taken in relation to previous incidents, including the establishment of a committee to investigate the clashes of December 2019.

“We urge the government to ensure prompt, transparent and effective follow-up to these investigations,” said Ms. Hurtado. “All those responsible for human rights abuses must be held accountable. Grievances on both sides must be addressed after decades of ethnic disputes fueled by the previous regime.

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