"The Slaughter of El Geneina"
Exceptional Reuters investigation into the genocidal violence in West Darfur
A Reuters special investigation published today reveals new details about the massacres that occurred in West Darfur from April through June, in which ethnic Masalit suffered at the hands of Arab militias, including the Rapid Support Forces.
Though news of these killings has been trickling out for months, this is the most in-depth, comprehensive investigation published to-date. Reuters calls it “the first comprehensive chronicle of the violence that consumed El Geneina earlier this year.”
In addition to covering the violence itself, the report includes much important context and background information to help readers understand the situation. The report is best viewed on a computer because of the many excellent photos, satellite images, maps, and videos. But it should work fine on most smartphones too. Here is the link:
Highlights of the report
Although we strongly urge readers to take time to read the investigation itself, here are a few highlights:
Testimonies from the survivors: “My son was killed and they threw his body in the fire. Don’t call these battles. There were no battles. They didn’t want to see any Blacks in the town.”
“Hassan Zakariya, who ran one of two field hospitals that operated in El Geneina during the violence, shared a list of names of more than 880 people he said had been killed between April 24 and June 9. The full toll, he estimated, was more than 4,000 dead and at least 10,000 injured.”
“The survivors’ accounts reveal a campaign that was systematic and coordinated… When the campaign was over, RSF and Arab militiamen oversaw an effort to hide the atrocities...”
“Satellite pictures also reveal how the northern part of Al Ghabat cemetery expanded markedly in the weeks after violence erupted in El Geneina…” This is in addition to mass graves in other parts of El Geneina and West Darfur.
“Desperate to save their sons, mothers described dressing them in girl’s clothing, hiding them under beds or beneath their flowing robes, or shoving them out of windows so they could escape before RSF and Janjaweed fighters arrived.”
The militias in El Geneina not only killed innocent civilians but desecrated the bodies of some victims and prevented the burial of others.
Given the serious risk of further massacres of this kind in other parts of Darfur, such journalism is very important in raising the alarm and helping foster ‘soft’ protection in the form of public accountability, naming and shaming for these war crimes.
Congratulations (and thank you) to Reuters journalists Maggie Michael, Ryan McNeil, Zohra Bensemra, and El Tayeb Siddig for accomplishing this important work.
The Reuters investigation follows previous reporting on the El Geneina killings and related topics by CNN, Human Rights Watch, the Sudan Conflict Observatory (no relationship to Sudan War Monitor), Sky News, and others.
Sudan War Monitor is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.