Regional Governor in Sudan Killed Amid Escalation of Conflict

In a disturbing turn of events, the governor of West Darfur state in Sudan was killed after publicly blaming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for the deaths of civilians, as the brutal war between the RSF and the Sudanese army entered its third month.

Sudan Regional Governor Killed in Conflict


The killing of Governor Khamis Abakar on Wednesday marked a new escalation in the conflict, which erupted on April 15 following long-standing tensions between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo.

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Videos circulated on social media, appearing to show a group of armed men, some wearing RSF uniforms, detaining Governor Abakar. Other clips purportedly showed the governor on the ground with injuries to his neck and face.\

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Prior to his killing, Abakar had accused the RSF and allied Arab fighters of committing “genocide,” stating that civilians were being indiscriminately and extensively killed. He called on the international community to intervene and protect the people in el-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur.

The Sudanese army has accused the RSF of kidnapping and assassinating the governor. It described the incident as a “brutal act” and criticized the RSF for its “record of barbaric crimes.” The RSF, in a statement, condemned Abakar’s assassination but also blamed Sudanese Military Intelligence, which is associated with the Sudanese Armed Forces, and radical Islamist supporters linked to former dictator Omar al-Bashir’s regime for fueling the conflict.

The RSF denies any involvement in attacks against civilians in Darfur. However, refugees interviewed by Al Jazeera last month in settlements within Chad claimed to have witnessed men wearing RSF uniforms fighting alongside Arab armed groups. The refugees also reported that violence erupted in their towns and villages after the army or local police left, leaving a power vacuum that was filled by Arab militias. None of the residents said they received any protection from the army.

The situation in Sudan remains volatile and continues to pose a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the civilian population.