Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been blamed for the assassination and mutilation of a senior government official, amid growing reports of mass killings in the restive Darfur region in the country’s devastating war.
Khamis Abdallah Abbakar, the governor of West Darfur , was murdered this week just hours after he gave an interview to a Saudi-owned TV station in which he criticised the RSF and described a “genocide”.
However, the RSF has in turn blamed rogue elements for the killing.
The army issued a statement sharply condemning “the treacherous behaviour of the RSF militia” in abducting and executing Khamis Abdullah Abakr.
Abakr’s death had earlier been reported by several media organisations.
In its statement, the RSF, a quasi-army formed from militias with tens of thousands of fighters, condemned the killing as the action of “lawless elements.”
For the past two months, the RSF of former deputy strongman Mohammed Hamdan Daglo has been battling the armed forces led by the de facto head of state, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The two generals swept to power together in 2019 and 2021, but later fell out.
A transition to democracy in the country of around 46 million inhabitants in north-eastern Africa, as demanded by the civilian population, failed to materialise.
Al Jazeera reported on Thursday that Abakr had given an interview on Wednesday hours before his death, in which he criticised the killing of civilians and called for international intervention in the crisis engulfing Sudan.
There have been repeated reports over recent days of attacks on civilians by RSF forces.
Violent clashes between the army and the RSF have occurred repeatedly in Khartoum and in Darfur in the west of the country.
UN High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi condemned the violence on Thursday.