A mass grave containing the bodies of at least 87 individuals allegedly killed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been discovered in Sudan, as reported by the United Nations. The grave, located just outside El-Geneina, contained the remains of the Masalit people. Violent clashes between the RSF and Sudan’s armed forces have been ongoing since April, resulting in numerous casualties and displacements.
The UN verified the burial of 37 bodies on June 20 and the burial of an additional 50 bodies the following day, despite the fact that the RSF and their affiliated militias have denied involvement in the recent fighting in West Darfur. Among the victims were women and children.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, expressed his dismay at the disrespectful treatment of the deceased and called for an investigation into their deaths. Türk emphasized the obligation of the RSF to handle the deceased with dignity.
The RSF has previously refuted allegations made by Human Rights Watch regarding the killing of 28 Masalit community members and the destruction of the town of Misterei in May. The conflict between Arab groups and the Masalit community has escalated, raising concerns of a repeat of the 2003 Darfur killings perpetrated by Janjaweed militias, which later evolved into the RSF. Reports of Arab militia targeting Masalit men and an “ethnic dimension” to the conflict have further heightened apprehensions.