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Sudan: Urgent international action needed to stop mass atrocities in threatened Darfur city

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Rapid Support Forces and militias surround El Fasher, the only capital city in Darfur free of RSF control

‘The conflict is having a devastating toll on civilians’ - Tigere Chagutah

Responding to reports of escalating violence in El Fasher, in Sudan’s North Darfur region, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Regional Director, said:

“Civilians are caught in the escalating violence in Sudan’s El Fasher city. The international community including the African Union and the United Nations must act urgently to prevent atrocities in El Fasher and its surrounding villages, to protect civilians and ensure perpetrators are held to account.

“El Fasher is home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people who initially fled violence from other parts of Darfur.

“The conflict is having a devastating toll on civilians. There are reports of shelling of residential areas including in the Abu Shouk IDP camp resulting in civilian casualties with many not able to flee.

“Amnesty demands that all parties to the conflict end all deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. They must also allow unhindered and safe access of humanitarian aid and ensure safe passage for civilians who are trying to flee the violence in the city.

“The international community must act now before it is too late.”

Huge numbers at risk of violence

The year-long conflict in Sudan continues to spread across the country, and now El Fasher - the only state capital in Darfur not under the control of the Rapid Support Forces - is surrounded by the RSF and allied militias. El Fasher is home to over 1.5 million people, including hundreds of thousands of IDPs who fled fighting in other parts of Darfur who are now trapped inside the city and are likely to face massive violations in the coming days and weeks. Amnesty received reports of burning of villages in North Darfur, escalating air strikes, shelling of residential areas including the Abu Shouk IDP camp, and blocking of aid deliveries by both parties to the conflict.

The fall of other cities in Darfur to the RSF, such as El Geneina in West Darfur last year, was followed by massive violations including ethnically targeted attacks against non-Arab communities, deliberate killings of civilians, sexual violence against women and girls, and massacres reminiscent of the crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing that took place in Darfur two decades ago.

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