Sudan

West Darfur: Investigation Into Krinding Camp Massacre Is Urgently Needed

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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Sudanese member organisations, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM), denounce the attack that took place on the Krinding IDP camp in December 2019. According to ACJPS’s documentation, 72 people were killed and 109 others wounded between 29 and 31 December 2019 during a raid by Rezaigat herdsmen of Arab ethnicity in Krinding camp for internally displaced persons (IDP), located about four kms east of Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state. The majority of the population in the Krinding camp is from the Masalit tribe, of African ethnicity.

On the evening of 29 December 2019, a group of Rezaigat herdsman raided Krinding camp to avenge the death of their relative, Mr Hamid Bishara Abu Bakr, who had been shot dead by a young Masalit tribesman during a fight between the two in Krinding Market (locally called Rgurgu market) located on the main road between the cities of Geneina and Zalingei. Reliable information gathered by ACJPS indicates that gunfire was exchanged between armed Masalit tribesmen and the Arab Rezaigat herdsmen during the raid, killing at least four people, two from each tribe.

The following morning, 30 December, at about 7:00AM, more than thirty Rezaigat herdsmen, some dressed in Rapid Support Force (RSF) uniforms and armed with weapons including machine guns, Kalashnikovs, J3 and knives, attacked Rorkero Market at Krinding camp, burning it down, thus killing several people. Reliable sources report that the attackers, whose numbers quickly swelled, proceeded to Krinding camp, surrounded it from the east and south, and shot indiscriminately at IDPs, killing several of them. Houses and property belonging to IDPs were looted, destroyed, and burned down.

On day three, 31 December, tens of Rezaigat herdsmen from neighbouring villages joined the attack against IDPs in Krinding camp, killing and injuring several. A reliable source indicates that the wounded were admitted in various hospitals and medical centres in Geneina. Post-mortem examinations were carried out on 56 dead bodies whereas at least eight were buried without an autopsy being carried out. All bodies were buried in Geneina.

A reliable source asserted that more than 50 people wearing the RSF uniform, driving in five Land Cruiser vehicles, participated in these attacks against the IDPs whilst about 15 members of the Sudanese Police Forces, some of whom belong to the Masalit tribe, exchanged gunfire with those armed militias. Our organisations were also informed that the transitional government deployed troops, from both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF, since 31 December 2019, in order to keep the peace in the Krinding camp.

As a result of the incident, at least 48,000 IDPs have been re-displaced to Geneina, where they reside in temporary accommodation centers and lack access to food and other basic necessities. Others have fled to neighbouring Chad and remote villages near the camp.

Our organisations have been informed that a local commission of inquiry was established on 2 January 2020 to investigate the attack in Krinding camp.

In December 2019, ACJPS and FIDH published a joint fact-finding report, titled “Will There Be Justice for Darfur? Persisting Impunity in the Face of Political Change.” In the report, our organisations urge prioritising the strengthening of the judiciary and its independence, stepping up the fight against impunity, and ensuring accountability for past and present crimes. The recent attacks in Krinding camp for internally displaced persons demonstrate the urgent need for Sudan’s transitional government to make the fight against impunity one of its top priorities, including by taking the necessary steps to ensure an impartial and effective investigation into the killing and injury of civilians in Krinding, identifying those responsible, and holding perpetrators accountable.

Our organisations also call upon the authorities to strengthen their vetting processes within the security and paramilitary forces and to develop plans for security sector reform (SSR) with the full participation of political actors and civil society and oversight by the relevant regional and international bodies, in accordance with international human rights law and best practices.

Any governmental figure suspected of involvement in attacks on civilians should be immediately suspended from his or her post pending the outcome of an effective and transparent investigation and, if there is sufficient evidence, charged and prosecuted in fair proceedings which comply with international standards of fair trial.

In addition, our organisations call on the transitional government to provide treatment and rehabilitation to all those injured and to families of victims in the attack and put in place measures to protect civilians throughout the Darfur region and across Sudan.

Our organisations also urge the transitional government to remove current barriers and enable the conditions for a safe, sustainable, voluntary, and dignified return of IDPs, including by providing access to education, medical referrals and livelihood opportunities to returnees.

Our organisations therefore urge the transitional government to immediately put in place measures to protect civilians throughout Darfur and remove all militias, including the RSF, from towns in Sudan. Our organisations further urge the transitional government to honour its commitments regarding accountability for all gross human rights violations committed against the people of Darfur over the past three decades, including by cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Background

For years, civilians in the Darfur region have been the primary targets of killings, large-scale forced displacement, rape and other forms of sexual violence, destruction of villages and property, pillaging, abductions, acts of torture, indiscriminate aerial bombardments, arbitrary arrests and detention. The transitional government has set as a key priority putting an end to insurgencies in the Darfur region and other conflict states and ensuring lasting peace. However, since the formation of the sovereign council, several instances of tribal clashes have taken place in different states in Sudan, including in Port Sudan where several people were wounded in August 2019.