RSF ‘categorically’ denies HRW ethnic violence allegations

Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Friday categorically denied a July 11 HRW report alleging human rights violations committed by Arab militias and the RSF against the non-Arab Masalit people in the Darfur region.

RSF in a statement underlined that it takes “the allegations mentioned in the statement seriously,” and emphasized the need for “fair investigation by neutral parties.”

On Monday Human Rights Watch said it had confirmed the deaths of a minimum of 40 civilians in the town of Misterei, located in West Darfur, approximately 45 km (28 miles) away from El Geneina.

At least 28 of the victims were Masalits, HRW said.

On May 28, RSF forces and Arab militias, acting in alliance, encircled Misterei. They proceeded to invade residences and schools, killing civilians, the report added.

“The RSF complies with international humanitarian law, treaties, and agreements concerning human rights,” the group said in response to HRW allegations.

The RSF statement also said that what happened in the area, “specifically in West Darfur State, and particularly in the city of Geneina, is a longstanding tribal conflict, which does not involve the RSF.”

The group said that the HRW report, “Partially relies on unreliable sources and contains errors related to data, locations, and dates.

The statement went on to say that HRW had not engaged with the RSF via official channels to seek an “explanation before making such a strong accusation, which is the norm in any fair investigation made by a reputable institution such as HRW.”

RSF said that all personnel had been officially withdrawn from all areas of the state, including Mistri, and relocated to Geneina before these events.

The group added that it stood ready to “engage and collaborate with HRW to ensure the provision of reliable data and information that could help it in securing a fair and impartial investigation.”

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