El Geneina — Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) claim to have captured the base of the 15th Division of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina on Saturday. In a statement, the RSF said it is “ready to carry out similar attacks in other cities and states, especially El Fasher and El Obeid”.
In a speech to his soldiers at the division’s headquarters on Saturday, RSF Deputy Commander Abdelrahim Dagalo, brother of RSF Commander ‘Hemedti’, called on the police and justice institutions to carry out their duties and called on his forces to refrain from any “unruly” behaviour towards civilians. He called on merchants to reopen their shops and appealed to humanitarian organisations to provide aid to the public.
Dagalo announced the appointment of Maj Gen Abdelrahman Juma, who is targeted by US sanctions, as commander of the 15th Division in El Geneina, in addition to the continuation of the state government in charge of performing his duties.
SAF have not commented on the claimed fall of El Geneina to the RSF.
Juma, who was recently subjected to sanctions by the US State Department, said in his address to the soldiers that the RSF will attack and conquer El Fasher and El Obeid before they move to Port Sudan, where the acting Council of Ministers moved after the war broke out in mid-April.
El Fasher on Sunday witnessed a cautious calm for the third consecutive day after fierce SAF-RSF battles on Wednesday and Thursday, activist Mohamed El Hadi told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
He said that the displaced in the city are living in dire humanitarian conditions. “There is a severe crisis in drinking water in the southern part of the city, which is all the more deplorable as large numbers of people from the northern and eastern neighbourhoods have sought refuge in the southern parts of El Fasher,” he explained. “The price of a barrel of water has risen to SDG5,000.”
El Hadi warned of the presence of military build-up northwest of El Fasher “that created a state of terror and panic among the people in the city”.
After the RSF managed to take control of Nyala last week and Zalingei this Tuesday, they focused on the three other Darfur state capitals, El Geneina, El Fasher, and Ed Daein, reportedly to expand their territorial control and thereby enhancing their negotiation leverage in the Jeddah talks.
On Thursday, Lt Gen Abdelrahim Dagalo, RSF deputy commander and brother of RSF Commander ‘Hemedti, announced “more operations in all Darfur states”.
He said that RSF front units had moved towards El Geneina in West Darfur, and El Daein, the capital of East Darfur where no fighting has been reported since the war started.
Hemedti said in a speech on November 2 that he will not form any government in the cities captured but will allow the native administration leaders there to form their own government.
Displaced – refugees
The number of refugees from El Geneina to eastern Chad has risen dramatically since the RSF attacks on the 15th Division of El Geneina began last week.
More than 2,000 West Darfuri had crossed the border since last week. From there, they were trying to move to the Chadian town of Adré, refugee Mohamed Yahya told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
He pointed to the continued flow of refugees since late last week, with the average daily flow reaching about 1,000 people. “Many fled Ardamata after the RSF took control of the army base there.”
Yahya accused the RSF of committing widespread human rights violations against people living in areas adjacent to the army command with ethnic motives.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) say that its team monitored 1,000 people crossing Chad overnight on Friday, equivalent to the weekly influx of refugees over the past weeks.
Minors, women, and the elderly make up the vast majority of those crossing the border, the organisation said.
Dario Bertito, MSF project coordinator in Adri, said his team was administering vaccinations, assessing malnutrition and referring critical cases to the nearest hospitals.
The number of refugees who have fled to eastern Chad since the war broke out is 450,000.
The daily flow of people fleeing from the North Darfur capital El Fasher to El Koma and other localities east of the city significantly increased after renewed fighting in El Fasher last week.
Saleh Harirein, member of the El Koma Youth Committee for Voluntary Work, told Radio Dabanga that more than 265 families recently reached the town.
“Since the outbreak of the war in April 1,952 families sought refuge in El Koma. Most of them have been lodged in 15 schools that have been turned into shelters,” he said. “Yet a large number live under the shade of trees in tragic conditions with no blankets and cooking utensils.”
The water crisis in El Koma locality is exacerbated by the scarcity of fuel, he said.
The youth committee has formed three committees. “One is registering the displaced, the second is arranging shelters, including the erection of rawakeeb (sun shelters made of wood and straw), and the third, the Popular Support Team is responsible for the provision of food baskets.” The Humanitarian Aid Commission in North Darfur called on the parties to the conflict to stop the war in Sudan in general and the city of El Fasher as a matter of urgency, leading to the presence of shelters for all displaced people in the Darfur region in the city.