Pillage in Kaas: The Struggle Against Human Rights Violations

(Kampala) – Kaas is a business and agriculture town in South Darfur, about 90 km west of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. Since the paramilitary group Rapid Support Force (RSF) took control of the town on July 26, 2023, there have been severe ongoing human rights violations.

The DNHR has received reports through its sources that the RSF has imposed taxes of fifty thousand Sudanese pounds (83 USD) every month on all businesses operating there. If anyone fails to pay, the RSF will loot the property, or sometimes they end up kidnapping the owner, and to be free, they have to pay a hefty amount of money. Due to this, many businesspeople and their families who can afford to leave have left the country. Only the unfortunate ones stayed to face the wrath of the RSF. The ones who stayed are primarily poor and have limited means; they can hardly sustain themselves.

“We sell onions, sugarcanes, and even grasshoppers in the markets to make ends meet. How are we supposed to pay taxes to the RSF?” said one of the local farmers.

The Umda (local leader) of Kaas stated that when the RSF took over the city, 27 cases of rape happened, one of them involving a 14-year-old minor girl from Fas Kabira locality; another case was of a mentally unstable 35-year-old woman. She has been raped around five times by the RSF commander called, Younis Mohammed Murhal, who belongs to the Rizeigat tribe. On January 25, 2024, he picked her up from her house, took her to the market, and raped her there.

The RSF has also restricted freedom of movement; everyone must be inside their home by 5 in the evening. People are kept from going to the north-eastern town or the southern part called Jebal Marra, as RSF has barracks there.

childrens and womens of Kaas

There have been constant cases of properties of civilians being looted by RSF soldiers; they get into any house and loot everything. When RSF took over, they killed 17 people at once in broad daylight on July 26, 2023, which included five women and 12 men.

The RSF has even recruited the children of the victims by threatening them that if they don’t join the RSF, they will be killed, and most of them are teenage boys.

Rizeigat, Messiria, Tarjam, and some people from the Fur tribe constitute most the members of RSF in Kaas. Al Daway – of the Messiria tribe, a major in RSF, is the head of Kaas. Umda Gereia from the Rizeigat tribe is second in command, and Imam Al Hadi from Messiria is also a leading figure of RSF in Kaas.

There is acute hunger in Kaas as most businesses are closed, and people have nothing much to eat. After the takeover of RSF, all the schools have been closed also; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is the only organization which is operating there running the Kaas Royal Hospital.

The relentless violations of human rights in Kaas demand urgent international attention. With each passing day, the situation worsens, leaving civilians vulnerable to atrocities committed by the RSF. From arbitrary taxation and looting to restrictions on movement and rampant cases of rape and violence, the people of Kaas endure unimaginable suffering. The international community cannot turn a blind eye to these grave violations. Immediate action is imperative to protect the innocent civilians who are trapped in this cycle of violence and oppression. Diplomatic pressure, sanctions, and humanitarian intervention are essential to hold perpetrators accountable and provide much-needed relief to the beleaguered population of Kaas. Time is of the essence, and the international community must act decisively to prevent further escalation of human rights abuses in Kaas.

More information is available from Mohammed Hassan, Executive Director, DNHR.

Email: hassan.m@dnhr.org

Phone: (+256)752792112 or (+249)924638036

P.O. Box: 144218