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Children among dozens of people killed in attack on Sudanese village

A gun and artillery attack by Sudanese paramilitary forces on a village in Sudan’s main agricultural region killed at least 104 people, including dozens of people, Sudanese pro-democracy activists said. dozens of children.

The exact details of Wednesday’s attack in Wad al-Noura, a village 70 miles south of the capital Khartoum, are still disputed.

But the high death toll, as well as images of a mass burial on Thursday that spread on social media and were verified by the New York Times, drew international condemnation and prompted the attack. becoming the newest hot spot in this country. Sudan’s brutal years-long war.

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the top United Nations official in Sudan, said in a statement: “Even by the tragic standards of the conflict in Sudan, the images emerging from Wad Al-Noura are very hurt”.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron: “The world is watching” write on social networks. “Those responsible will be held accountable.”

However, Sudan has seen many atrocities but little accountability since the country fell into crisis. catastrophic civil war just over a year ago, when fighting broke out between the national army and a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.

And with phone lines in Jazeera province, where Wad al-Noura is located, Sudanese are relying on videos and accounts from local activists to understand the latest mass casualties.

A video shared online by The Times and geolocated shows a convoy of at least five Rapid Support Forces vehicles lined up on a road about half a mile from Wad al-Noura on Thursday. Private.

Gunmen could be seen standing behind stationary vehicles firing machine guns across open fields towards the village. The video is about five minutes long, amid continuous gunfire.

One person recounting the video said residents blocked the entrance to the village to prevent the militants from reaching the village. It appeared that the fighters were not under fire.

However one separate videos from within Wad al-Noura it was suggested that the village had arranged some kind of armed defense. In the video, a resident pleads for help as gunfire erupts outside.

“The village is under siege,” the man said. “Save Wad al-Noura.”

The local resistance committee, part of a national network of pro-democracy groups, called the incident a massacre. On Thursday, they posted videos showing at least 50 bodies covered in cloth and buried in the village.

The videos and photos were verified by The Times and the Sudan Witness Project at the Center for Information Recovery, a nonprofit that tracks conflicts and documents potential war crimes.

The Resistance Committee said at least 104 people were killed and blamed the national army for failing to save them. “The people of Wad Al-Noura called on the army to rescue them, but they shamefully did not respond.”

Supporters quickly disputed that account. In a statement, they admitted their forces had opened fire on Wad al-Noura, but said they were attacking military positions around the village and killed eight soldiers in the fighting.

UNICEF chief Catherine Russell said in a statement she was “appalled” by reports that at least 35 children were killed and 20 injured in the violence, and called on The warring parties comply with international law.

Sudanese army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited villagers injured in Thursday’s attack. Speaking at a hospital in the nearby town of Al Managil, he said the army would give a “harsh response” to the RSF over the killing.

The village is located in an agricultural region that was once the breadbasket of Sudan but has now become a vast battlefield.

The RSF captured Wad Madaniregional capital of Jazeera province, in December as part of a stunning string of victories that left the Sudanese Army at a disadvantage.

In recent months, the army has tried to retake Jazeera with a major counteroffensive. Wad al-Noura was about 20 miles from the nearest front line in that war.

In the western Darfur region, the RSF has besieged El Fasher, the last remaining stronghold of the Sudanese army in Darfur, raising fears that a full-scale war inside the city could trigger riots. ethnic massacres or worsening a famine crisis that aid workers say risks becoming a serious crisis. starvation.

The RSF received weapons and other items support from the United Arab Emirates, its main foreign sponsor, according to US and United Nations officials. On Thursday, the United States imposed new sanctions related to the conflict in Sudan on Seven companies are based in the Emirates.

Abdalrahman Altayeb contributed reporting from Port Sudan, Sudan. The video was edited by Ainara Tiefenthäler


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