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On 15 April, a war broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), exposing the civilian population to death and displacement. As of 14 May, at least 676 people had been killed and another 5,576 injured since the fighting began, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes to find safer places within and outside Sudan, while thousands are still stuck at their homes facing the use of heavy weapons, shelling and air strikes.
In the last two-decade-long conflict in Darfur, the RSF was accused of using rape as a weapon of war. Since anti-government protests began in Sudan at the end of 2018, doctors in Khartoum said "they believed the RSF had carried out more than 70 rapes when it attacked a peaceful demonstration in June 2019".
Originally, the Janjaweed militias trace their roots to armed nomadic groups in western Sudan. They first attracted international attention after a terrible genocide in 2003. Former president Omer Albashir organised the Janjaweed into the Rapid Support Forces as a separate unit in 2013, initially to fight rebels in the Nuba Mountains. In 2017, a law legitimised the group as an independent security force.
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Illustration by a Sudanese (woman) artist