Villagers flee in terror after 150 were killed in a rebel attack

CNN

Eyewitnesses told CNN Thursday how fighters from Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) descended upon Wad al-Nour village in the central Al-Jazira state on Wednesday.
Both the Sudanese army and the RSF have faced damning accusations of civilian massacres since the civil war broke out in April 2023.
The RSF acknowledged the attack in a statement Wednesday and said it was a pre-emptive attack on Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF), camps in Wad Al-Noura in response to a planned attack by the army.
CNN has contacted both RSF and the Sudanese Army for comment.
This was not the first attempt by the RSF to control Wad al-Noura, as they have tried several times to take the village.
Since the conflict started, both the Sudanese army and the RSF have faced damning accusations of civilian massacres.
“This heinous crime is added to the series of crimes committed by this rebel militia in many states of Sudan.
“Even by the tragic standards of Sudan’s conflict, the images emerging from Wad Al-Noura are heart-breaking.

NEGATIVE

The latest horror in the year-long conflict that has forced more than 7 million people from their homes was an attack by rebel forces in Sudan that left at least 150 dead and 200 injured, according to witnesses and local officials.

Witnesses described to CNN on Thursday how on Wednesday, fighters from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of Sudan invaded the village of Wad al-Nour, located in the state of Al-Jazira in the center.

After more than forty armed vehicles stormed the village and unleashed heavy weaponry on its residents, mostly civilians—including women and children—were killed and injured. They described scenes of terror and mass destruction.

The witness said that there is still fighting only a few kilometers away, and the terrified villagers are afraid that the fighting will get worse.

An additional eyewitness described the ongoing, gruesome task of tallying the wounded and dead. “A mass grave in the middle of the village has seen the burial of over 120 people thus far,” he stated.

The precise death toll cannot be independently confirmed by CNN.

A sizable group of people can be seen in Wad Al-Noura village, surrounding dozens of dead bodies covered in white shrouds, as burial preparations were underway, according to footage that was posted on social media on Wednesday and geolocated by CNN.

Heavy and medium weapon fire is purportedly captured on another video of the RSF militia being directed towards the village.

Since the civil war began in April 2023, the RSF and the Sudanese army have both been accused of atrocities against civilians.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the RSF confirmed the attack and claimed that it was a preemptive strike against the camps of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in Wad Al-Noura, in retaliation for an army attack that was scheduled. They refused to acknowledge the reported deaths of civilians.

During the operation, the RSF claimed that eight of its fighters were slain, others were injured, and they took control of military hardware, vehicles, and weapons.

The Sudanese army maintains a military base approximately 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Wad Al-Noura, which is being mentioned as a potential reason for the attack, but eyewitnesses told CNN that there is no military presence in the village.

The Sudanese Army and RSF have been contacted by CNN for comments.

As reported by state news agency SUNA, the head of the SAF promised to exact revenge after visiting survivors in a city close to the attack. The SAF Commander-in-Chief and President of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, issued a dire warning, saying, “The response to the militia’s crimes against the martyrs of [Wad al-Nour] will be severe and harsh.”.

an intended objective.

About 160 kilometers south of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, is the village of Wad al-Nour, which is currently the scene of the most recent outbreak of violence in a nation torn apart by internal strife.

Due to its proximity to Al-Manaqil, the only location in Al-Jazira state where the Sudanese army is still present, the village has long been a strategic target for the RSF.

The RSF had made multiple attempts to seize control of Wad al-Noura prior to this one.

Since fighting broke out between troops loyal to General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the RSF, and Army Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the SAF, thousands of people have died.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the RSF and the Sudanese army have both been accused of horrifying civilians.

Eyewitnesses claim that the RSF has deliberately targeted villages in Sudan’s agricultural heartland, Al-Jazira, in order to bolster its numbers through forced conscription and the use of hunger as a weapon.

Witnesses told CNN in March that the militia group had ordered people to “enlist or die,” forcing over 700 people—many of them children—to be forcibly recruited out of the state. The RSF rejected this assertion.

An international scandal and a humanitarian emergency.

The RSF’s actions were denounced by the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, which described them as a component of a systematic campaign of violence against civilians.

“This horrible act is one more in the long list of crimes this rebel militia has committed throughout numerous states in Sudan. According to the Council, “These are criminal acts that reflect the systematic behavior of these militias in targeting civilians, plundering their property, and forcibly displacing them from their areas.”.

On Thursday, a UN representative voiced grave concerns about the violence that has been reported and demanded that those responsible for it be held accountable as well as a thorough investigation.

“The photos coming out of Wad Al-Noura are heartbreaking, even by the tragic standards of Sudan’s conflict.”. Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, stated that wars have laws that must always be obeyed.

The number of people displaced by conflict inside Sudan could surpass 10 million in the coming days, according to a warning from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “.

“The most severe internal displacement situation on record is intensifying, as impending starvation and illness compound the damage caused by warfare,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) stated in a release this Thursday.

Around 8 point 8 million people have fled their homes, and 24 point 8 million of them urgently need assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu issued a warning last week at the UN Security Council, saying, “There are strong allegations that genocide has already been committed, and the situation today bears all the marks of risk of genocide.”. “.

Avery Schmitz of CNN contributed to this article.

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