Over 100 Killed in Sudan Attack as Humanitarian Crisis Widens

The humanitarian situation in Sudan is worsening, as the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched attacks upon a Sudanese village, killing approximately 150-180 people. This attack comes as Sudan suffers from increased displacement, further worsening what is already the world’s largest displacement crisis, and civilians continue to be at risk as they are trapped within combat zones.

A Deadly Massacre

Local sources have reported that the RSF twice attacked the village of Wad Al-Noora in Sudan’s Al-Jazirah state on Wednesday, June 5th. The attacks took place with small arms and artillery, a common tactic employed by the RSF, and came after a brief siege of the village by the RSF.

Wad Al-Noora is not the first village to suffer attacks by the RSF in Al-Jazirah, as RSF forces have continually launched attacks against various villages in the state, and is accused of carrying out lootings, kidnappings, and other killings. These sorts of attacks have reportedly escalated in recent weeks.

A photo taken of the funeral for some of those killed in the RSF’s attack on Wad al-Noora in Al-Jazirah state.

The Sudanese military government has condemned the massacre, and Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced it will no longer “tolerate” any contact between foreign entities and the RSF. The leniency of such foreign entities which maintain contact and relations with the RSF was blamed by Sudan for the massacre. Further, they demanded that the massacre be considered a “turning point,” and that nations move to designate the RSF as a terror group.

The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that any nation which supplies the RSF with any material, logistical, or political support will be considered complicit by the Sudanese government in any crimes perpetrated by the RSF.

Notably, troops of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) were stationed nearby and took no action to intervene, despite a request for intervention by those being attacked within the village.

The RSF released a statement saying they had attacked SAF military installments in the area, but made no mention of any potential civilian casualties or of an attack upon the town itself.

The UN has also issued its own condemnation of the massacre, and reiterated calls for a ceasefire.

Uncommitted Calls for Peace

The UN is not alone in their calls for peace talks.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, as well as the head of the Sudanese military government General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, held a phone conversation on Tuesday in which Burhan reiterated his commitment to establishing a humanitarian ceasefire in Sudan, and the general efforts being taken to end the war as a whole.

A photo of Sudanese Military Government leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (Photo from Getty Images).

In addition to this, South Sudan’s presidential advisor, Tut Gatluak, stated that both sides have expressed a willingness to continue communication in order to hopefully restart negotiations on ceasefires.

Although, this is not the first time that either the RSF or the SAF have expressed their respective willingness to either return to negotiations, or even establish a ceasefire to end the war. Statements like these have arisen on multiple occasions, however no ceasefire has been established since shortly after the war began last year in April.

This is mostly due to an extreme lack of cooperation between the two sides. The SAF has issued a list of preconditions, including an RSF withdrawal from cities that they have occupied as the war has gone on.

The SAF’s efforts to disincentivize nations and entities from engaging with the RSF is a part of their larger effort to delegitimize the RSF on the world stage, a necessity if the SAF is to maintain any sort of advantage in peace talks, especially as the SAF has continually lost territory since the war began.

Both sides have expressed support for negotiations to establish a ceasefire, temporary or permanent, however have refused outside attempts to establish such a ceasefire, such as when the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire for the duration of Ramadan, which went ignored by both sides.

Expanding Humanitarian Crisis

While Sudan already holds the title for the worlds largest internal displacement crisis, a new report released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that the situation has grown strikingly worse, in a short period of time.

Sudanese refugees are seen in a makeshift hospital in Adre, Chad, a town located right by the Sudanese border (Photo from Reuters).

According to the IOM, 9.9 million people are now internally displaced within Sudan. Of those, approximately 7.1 million have been displaced since the beginning of the present war in April of 2023.

“This crisis is equivalent to the entire population of London being displaced but under constant threat of violence, famine, disease, and brutal ethnic and gender-based violence. Humanitarian needs are immense and urgent, yet funding remains critically low. We urgently need unified international efforts to avert a looming famine” -IOM Director General Amy Pope

As the IOM Director General mentioned, Sudan is also under the threat of famine, as the nation threatens to become the worlds largest hunger crisis. Across Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad, approximately 25 million people face acute levels of hunger.

Within Sudan, large portions of those in need of aid are inaccessible due to ongoing combat. For those that are reachable, aid is inadequate as the UN and other aid organizations suffer from chronic shortages of funding, as well as a series of bureaucratic impediments that prevent efficient delivery.

Again according to the IOM, 70% of those displaced are displaced within famine-risk areas.

International organizations are once again raising alarms for the situation in the North Darfur city of El Fasher, where combat between the RSF and the SAF is presently ongoing. Within the city, approximately 800,000 civilians are at risk as they are trapped in the city where frequent bombardments from both sides take place, as many of the roads leading out of the city are blocked.

“Key roads out of El Fasher are blocked, preventing civilians from escaping to safer areas and hindering the delivery of aid. We join the United Nations in demanding an immediate ceasefire and guaranteed humanitarian access across borders and frontlines. Millions of lives hang in the balance” -IOM Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Osman Belbeisi.

The city of El Fasher, in the North Darfur state, is host to several IDP camps. While occurring throughout the war, recent clashes that began in early April have turned into a full battle for the city as the RSF vies to take control of the key city.

A photo of the Joint Force in El Fasher, North Darfur on April 11th, 2024. The Joint Force is an association of militias in North Darfur that declared allegiance to the SAF amidst reports of RSF movements in the area earlier in April, and has since participated in the attempted defence of the city against the RSF.

El Fasher is the last city within Darfur that is still controlled by the government, and so its loss would solidify the RSF’s control over Darfur, the RSF’s stronghold.

Hundreds of civilians have reportedly been killed in the fight over the city, as both the RSF and the SAF launch indiscriminate bombings upon it. Further, most services in the city, including healthcare, have collapsed.

The UN, EU, US, and more have called for both sides to halt combat in El Fasher as the humanitarian situation, which was already suffering greatly, completely collapses in the city.

Some civilians within the city are worried about ethnic-based violence taking place in the event of an RSF takeover, as it has before.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


Argentine Senate Passes Bases Law

Argentina's Senate passed President Javier Milei's controversial "Bases Law" on Wednesday, over a month after the bill passed through the Chamber of Deputies and followed a deadlocked vote in...

China Advises Pakistan: Adhere to the UN

Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif returned from a visit to Beijing on June 8th, where he met with President Xi Jinping and the presiding officer of the National...