Sudan army vows harsh response to RSF village attack, UN calls for probe

Friday June 07 2024

Sudan's military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan stands at the podium during a ceremony to sign the framework agreement between military rulers and civilian powers in Khartoum, Sudan on December 5, 2022. PHOTO | REUTERS


Sudan's army said on Thursday it would deliver a "harsh response" to an attack a day earlier on a village by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces that pro-democracy activists said killed more than 100 people.

The attack was the largest in a string of dozens of attacks by RSF soldiers on small villages across the farming state after it took control of the capital Wad Madani in December.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's statement followed accusations by the local activists that the army did not respond to pleas for help on Wednesday.

The army did not reply to a request for comment.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

Read: Sudan paramilitary forces attack village, kill 100


"The Secretary-General urges all parties to refrain from any attacks that could harm civilians or damage civilian infrastructure," Dujarric said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General expresses his deep concern regarding the immense suffering of the Sudanese population as a result of the continued hostilities," he said.

"He stresses that it is high time for all parties to silence their guns across Sudan and commit to a path towards sustainable peace."

The top UN official in Sudan on Thursday called for an investigation into the attack in Wad al-Noura village in Gezira State in central Sudan.

"Even by the tragic standards of Sudan's conflict, the images emerging from Wad Al-Noura are heart-breaking," said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Clementine Nkweta-Salami in a statement.

She cited photos shared on social media by the Wad Madani Resistance Committee, which has been tracking such attacks, showing what it described as dozens of victims wrapped for burial.

The committee said on Thursday that 104 were killed and hundreds injured in Wad al-Noura and that the RSF was moving towards other villages.

Read: Tens of thousands flee amid Sudan paramilitary attack

"Wad al-Noura village ... witnessed a genocide on Wednesday after the RSF attacked twice," the committee said in a statement late on Wednesday.

A telecommunications blackout prevented Reuters from reaching medics or residents to verify the details.

The RSF began fighting with the army in April 2023 after disputes over the integration of the two forces and has since taken over the capital Khartoum and most of western Sudan. It is now seeking to advance into the centre, as United Nations agencies say the people of Sudan are at "imminent risk of famine".

On Thursday, the resistance committee in Karari, an army-controlled area to the north of the capital, blamed the RSF for artillery fire that it said had killed 22. Eyewitnesses said that the fire had come from across the Nile in RSF-controlled Bahri.

In a statement on Thursday, the RSF said it had attacked army and allied militia bases around Wad al-Noura, losing eight soldiers, and noted inaccurate reports circulating about the incident.

The Wad Madani Resistance Committee accused the RSF on Wednesday of using heavy artillery against civilians, looting and driving women and children to seek refuge in the nearby town of Managil.

"The people of Wad al-Noura called on the army to rescue them, but they shamefully did not respond," the committee said.

The army-aligned Transitional Sovereign Council condemned the attack.

"These are criminal acts that reflect the systematic behaviour of these militias in targeting civilians," it said in a statement.