The US State Department on Thursday condemned the violence and rights violations unfolding in Sudan's West Darfur, attributing the atrocities "primarily" to the RSF paramilitary force and saying they are an "ominous reminder" of the region's previous genocide.
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing human rights violations and abuses and horrific violence in Sudan, especially reports of widespread sexual violence and killings based on ethnicity in West Darfur by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
"The atrocities occurring today in West Darfur and other areas are an ominous reminder of the horrific events that led the United States to determine in 2004 that genocide had been committed in Darfur," Miller said in a statement.
"While the atrocities taking place in Darfur are primarily attributable to the RSF and affiliated militia, both sides have been responsible for abuses," he added, referring to Sudan's ongoing war between the paramilitary RSF and the regular army. Miller said up to 1,100 civilians have been killed in the capital of West Darfur, El Geneina, alone, while the United Nations is reporting more than 273,000 have been displaced from the region.
The State Department cited media reports and the Sudan Conflict Observatory reporting that satellite imagery shows settlements "razed to the ground by marauding forces."
"Women are bearing the brunt of this violence, and victims and human rights groups have credibly accused soldiers of the RSF and allied militias of rape and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence," it said.
Darfur, an area of western Sudan, has long been an area of conflict.
Between 2003 and 2005, some 200,000 civilians there died from starvation and violence inflicted largely by government soldiers, and in 2004 the US secretary of state declared a genocide to have occurred.
Fighting erupted in Sudan two months ago between the regular army, led by Abdel Farrah al-Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
The fighting has left at least 1,800 people dead, and left parts of the capital Khartoum destroyed.
(c) 2023, Barron's via AFP - Agence France Presse