The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said they have seized control of El Geneina, the capital of Sudan’s West Darfur, from the military after fierce fighting.
This major advance for the RSF comes as the two warring sides continue to engage in peace talks in Saudi Arabia.
The army has not commented on its defeat in El Geneina.
The RSF originated in the Darfur region and has been accused of atrocities against non-Arab groups in El Geneina during this year’s conflict. As Sudan plunged into war, the ethnic-African Masalit tribe came under weeks of systematic attacks in West Darfur by the paramilitary RSF and allied militias, according to reports.
RSF’s second-in-command, Abdulrahim Daglo, was sanctioned by the US for his alleged role in ethnic cleansing in West Darfur.
In a video released this morning, the Rapid Support Forces claimed control of the army’s 15h Division headquarters in El Geneina this morning, November 4th, after fighting.
RSF claimed that the army’s 15th Infantry Division carried out malicious acts and caused “deaths of people in El Geneina by distributing guns to civilians, which led to killings and displacements. ”
The statement came hours after video clips appeared on social media showing the presence of Rapid Support Forces soldiers at the army’s 15th Infantry Division in El Geneina.
Yusuf Mohammed, a civil society activist in El Geneina, told Radio Tamazuj this morning that El Geneina yesterday witnessed an influx of residents to the Chadian border for fear of indiscriminate bombings resulting from the battles between the army and the Rapid Support forces.
He added, “Today (Sunday) I did not see the same mass exodus and influx to the border with Chad, perhaps because the 15th Infantry Division in El Geneina fell and the fighting stopped. We have heard that the RSF has controlled the army headquarters in El Geneina.”
Meanwhile, Fatima El Zahra, a resident of El Geneina who fled to Chad after the fighting in El Geneina, said: “We suffered during the fighting. When I was in El Geneina, the fighting was very heavy, and the neighborhoods were just being bombed indiscriminately. The first day of the fighting between the army and RSF was November 2. But we thank God we have arrived in Chad safely.”
As previously reported by Radio Tamazuj, the RSF claimed control of the 21st Infantry Division base in Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur, after having captured the 16th Infantry Division base in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur State.