US, partners condemn growing violence in Sudan's Darfur region

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States, Britain and Norway on Friday condemned rising violence and human rights abuses that some claim amount to ethnic cleansing in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

The three countries, known as “the Troika,” said in a statement that the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces must end the fighting that has killed at least 800 people since earlier this month and forced another 8,000 to flee.

They said they were particularly concerned by attacks on civilians by the RSF in west, central and south Darfur. The three countries said there could be no military solution to the conflict and urged the two sides to work together in Saudi-hosted peace talks to reach a negotiated settlement.

“We reiterate that there is no acceptable military solution to the conflict, and call for an end to the fighting,” they said. “We urge the RSF and SAF to refrain from actions that would further divide Sudan along ethnic lines or draw other forces into their conflict. Both sides need to deescalate and engage in meaningful discussions that lead to a ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access.”

RSF fighters and allied Arab militias rampaged through the West Darfur town of Ardamata earlier this month, killing more than 800 people, a local doctors group and the United Nations said.

The head of the Sudanese Doctor’s Union in West Darfur said the paramilitary rampaged through the town, killing non-Arabs inside their homes and torching shelters housing displaced people. A further 8,000 people escaped, fleeing into neighboring Chad, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees later reported.

The attack was the latest in a series of atrocities in Darfur that have marked the monthslong war between the Sudanese military and the RSF. The U.N. says the conflict has killed about 9,000 people, although doctors groups and local activists say the toll is far higher.

More than 6 million people were also forced out of their homes, including 1.2 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries, according to U.N. figures.