The UN human rights office said on Thursday at least 87 people including ethnic Masalits were buried in what it described as a mass grave in Sudan’s West Darfur, saying it had credible information that the Sudan’s Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were responsible.
RSF officials denied any involvement, saying the paramilitary group was not a party to the conflict in West Darfur.
Local people were forced to dispose of the bodies including those of women and children in a shallow grave in an open area near the city between June 20-21, the UN statement said. Some of the people had died from untreated injuries, he said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk called on the RSF and other parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate prompt searches for the dead, their collection and evacuation without distinction, including based on ethnic background – as they are obliged to do under international law.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the killing of civilians and hors de combat individuals, and I am further appalled by the callous and disrespectful way the dead, along with their families and communities, were treated,” Türk said. “There must be a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the killings, and those responsible must be held to account.”
(with input from agencies)