by Sarvish Waheed

In recent months, mass migration from West Darfur to Chad has become inevitable. Displaced civilians, bearing witness to the deplorable conditions in Sudan, have reported atrocities committed by Arab militias and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) against the Masalit ethnic group. One of the worst affected areas is Ardamata, a village north-east of El Geneina, which is home to a camp for internally displaced people. Despite public denials by Arab militias, international media and journalists on the ground have documented a systematic weekly offensive by RSF and its allies against the Masalit since 20 April.

The attack on the local military base coincided with the bombing of a refugee camp in early November 2023. The testimony of Nabil Meccia, a nurse who paid dearly to escape RSF and the horrors of war, played a crucial role. He described the indiscriminate shooting of civilians in Ardamata, where people were lined up and executed by militiamen.

Once seen by residents as a potential escape route protected by government forces, the area was abandoned by Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers after a decisive paramilitary attack, leaving civilians vulnerable. The humanitarian crisis is deepening as corpses line the roads of West Darfur and those with vehicles attempt to flee, while those captured by the SAF face forced labour or summary execution. The absence of the regular army and the continued advance of the paramilitaries under the command of Hemedti forced the residents of El Geneina and Ardamata to seek weapons to protect civilians. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported around 7,000 refugees in Chad in the first three days of November, with further increases expected.

UN envoy Clementine Nkweta-Salami is receiving daily reports of sexual violence, disappearances and human rights abuses, particularly against children. Over 25 million people, more than half the population, are in need of assistance and protection, with over 6 million displaced or seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The European Union expresses its concern and underlines the real risk of a new genocide in Sudan, echoing the atrocities of the 2003 conflict. EU Commissioner for External Relations Josep Borrell highlights the ethnic cleansing in West Darfur, where RSF has taken control of most military bases as violence continues to engulf civilians.

To learn more, read our Sudan factsheet

Cover image ©Andy.LIU/