Mass grave in war-torn Sudan found to hold remains of almost 90 people
Cairo — The bodies of dozens of people allegedly killed by Sudanese paramilitary and allied militia have been uncovered in a mass grave in West Darfur, the United Nations said Thursday. According to "credible information" obtained by the U.N. Human Rights Office, the bodies of the 87 people, some of whom belong to the ethnic African Masalit tribe, were dumped in a shallow grave just outside the West Darfur city of Geneina.
The first 37 bodies were buried on June 20, the U.N. agency said in a statement from Geneva. The next day, another 50 bodies were dumped at the same site. Seven women and seven children were among those buried.
Sudan has been rocked by violence since April 15 when tensions between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces erupted into open fighting. Darfur has been at the epicenter of the 12-week conflict, morphing into ethnic violence with RSF troops and allied Arab militias attacking African ethnic groups.
The RSF and allied Arab militias rampaged through the western province, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, according to rights groups, with many crossing the border into neighboring Chad. Amid the pillaging, entire towns and villages in the province of West Darfur have been burned to the ground and looted,
Darfur had been the scene of genocidal war in the early 2000s, when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination. Former dictator Omar al-Bashir's government was accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes, known as Janjaweed, who targeted civilians.
Janjaweed fighters were folded into the RSF.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia jointly negotiated a ceasefire between the two sides in May, but it failed to take hold and was scrapped just days later as the two nations accused both sides in the conflict of violations. Washington hit companies and individuals affiliated with both Sudan's armed forces and the RSF with sanctions as the fighting ramped back up.