The US on Wednesday sanctioned high-ranking Sudanese paramilitary leader Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo over human rights abuses.
He is being sanctioned “for his connection to rights abuses by the RSF against civilians in Sudan", including “the massacre of civilians, ethnic killings, and use of sexual violence", the Treasury Department said.
“Today’s action demonstrates Treasury’s commitment to hold accountable those responsible for serious and extensive human rights abuses in Sudan,” said Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Mr Dagalo is the first official on either side to be sanctioned by the US since the start of the war. Previous sanctions, levied on companies, also took aim at the Sudanese military.
The sanctions against Mr Dagalo, the brother of RSF commander Gen Mohamed Dagalo, represent the most significant action since the paramilitary group's conflict with Sudan's army began in mid-April. This move appears to be a response to the recent violence in West Darfur, which the RSF and allied militias are accused of causing.
The US Treasury measures freeze any assets held by Mr Dagalo in the US and stops American citizens from doing business with him.
The prohibitions include the “making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person”.
Concurrently, the US State Department placed RSF general and West Darfur sector commander Abdul Rahman Juma on its blacklist for what it called "his involvement in a gross violation of human rights".
"According to credible sources, on June 15, 2023, RSF forces led by Gen Juma kidnapped and killed the Governor of West Darfur Khamis Abbakar and his brother. This act came just hours after Mr Abbakar’s public statements condemning the actions of the RSF," the State Department said.
In June, the US imposed sanctions on companies it accused of fuelling the conflict in Sudan. The Treasury took aim at two companies affiliated with Sudan's army and two companies affiliated with the RSF, accusing them of generating revenue from the conflict and contributing to the fighting.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, more than four million people have been internally displaced since the conflict erupted in mid-April while another 1.1 million have fled to neighbouring countries. More than 750,000 have travelled to either Egypt or Chad, the UN agency said.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's UN envoy, pledged almost $163 million in extra humanitarian aid for Sudan and neighbouring countries during her visit to Chad on Wednesday.
The aid comprises about $103 million from the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and roughly $60 million from USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
The humanitarian aid will provide food assistance; emergency shelter; access to health care including mental health support; water, sanitation and hygiene supplies; and protection for vulnerable groups including women, youths, older persons and survivors of violence, including support for communities throughout the region hosting Sudanese refugees.
The State Department urged the Sudanese army and the RSF to end the bloodshed and the suffering of the Sudanese people as “there is no military solution” to the conflict.
“We further urge authorities to remove the onerous bureaucratic and security restrictions that hinder delivery of life-saving aid, grant visas to humanitarian workers, and allow conflict affected populations the freedom to seek safety.”
The UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, expressed her concern over ongoing levels of “identity-based“ attacks in a number of states and regions in Sudan.
“In Darfur, innocent civilians are being targeted on the basis of race,” said the UN special adviser in a statement.
She also noted that in Darfur, hundreds have reportedly been killed and many more injured in clashes between members of different tribes. Houses and medical facilities in El Geneina have also been looted and burnt.
“After four months of continued fighting, with widespread human rights violations and abuses, this has led to an unacceptable level of deaths, injuries and displacements of thousands in a conflict with strong identity-based components.”