8 April 2021

Fighting in Geneina city and surrounding areas has largely subsided, according to West Darfur State Governor Mohamed Douma during a news conference in Khartoum today. Medical reports cite 132 dead and over 200 wounded from nearly five days of fighting within the city and surrounding areas in West Darfur State.

West Darfur State Governor Mohamed Douma (SUNA)

“There is no active shooting in the city today and the situation is relatively stable,” the governor said. Looting, however, continues since many residents “fled their neighbourhoods due to the heavy gunfire –now some groups are looting properties in these neighbourhoods using cars and motorcycles, but security forces are dealing with them.”

A number of houses were burnt to the ground in the Jebel neighbourhood of Geneina, according to eyewitnesses, as well as the southern part of Abuzar Camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), located behind the Geneina police station and security offices.

The central government has effectively abandoned citizens since heavy gunfire and shelling erupted last Sunday, the Director of Social Development for West Darfur State, Jamal Fadil, told Ayin.

Wounded are currently receiving medical care at Al-Geneina Teaching Hospital, Al-Salah Medical Hospital and Al-Naseem Clinic, the West Darfur State Doctors Committee said. “We renew our calls to the authorities to secure health facilities and secure access to supply stores –many types of medicine have run out while others are about to run out,” the committee warned in today’s statement.

The conflict started Saturday evening on 3 April after unknown gunmen shot at Massalit tribesmen who were heading to Geneina town, killing two and injuring two others, according to eyewitnesses and a UN statement. Tensions quickly escalated from there. By noon the following day, gunfire erupted in the Customs District and the al-Jebel and al-Souq neighbourhoods of the city. Gunfire and heavy shelling lasted until evening. Army and police forces did not intervene throughout this period, guarding only the government buildings and banks, eyewitnesses told Ayin.

Local sources within Geneina say tensions rose after more armed groups entered the town. The additional armed groups include the Sudanese Coalition under the former rebel leader Khamis Abaker, a candidate for West Darfur State governor position, and the “Tamazuj” militia, an armed group aligned to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).