Killing came shortly after governor blamed paramilitary RSF for violence in West Darfur
Sudan’s West Darfur Governor Khamis Abdallah Abkar was killed, shortly after he blamed the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group for violence in the state.
Videos shared online showed a group of armed men detaining Abkar. Other clips showed the governor on the ground with wounds to his neck and face.
His death came shortly after he blamed the RSF in an interview for a wave of killings and looting in Geneina, the capital city of West Darfur.
In a statement, the Sudanese army accused the RSF of abducting and assassinating the governor.
“This monstrous behavior adds a new chapter to the barbaric crimes that they (RSF) have been committing on the Sudanese people who have seen their crimes as never witnessed in the country’s history,” the army said.
The army said the slain governor had no relation to the current conflict between the army and the RSF.
There was no comment yet from the paramilitary group on the accusation.
The rebel Justice and Equality Movement, for its part, condemned the governor’s killing as a “serious development.”
The assassination is “an extension of the egregious violations that were committed in Geneina city,” it added in a statement.
The Sudan Liberation Army movement also decried the killing as “a heinous crime that does not resemble the values and morals of the Sudanese people,” calling for an investigation into the governor’s death.
Hundreds of people have been killed and injured in Geneina amid a wave of looting over the past weeks.
The UN said on Wednesday that escalating attacks in Darfur could amount to “crimes against humanity.”
Sudan has been ravaged by clashes between the army and the RSF since mid-April. Nearly 1,000 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in the violence, according to local medics.
More than 2.2 million people have been displaced by the current conflict in Sudan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.
Disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the two military rivals over integration of the RSF into the armed forces — a key condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.
Sudan has been without a functioning government since fall 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency, in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”
The transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, had been scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.