The IPI global network strongly condemns the killing of two journalists in Sudan by elements of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Force (RSF). IPI demands accountability for both cases and calls on conflict parties in Sudan to act immediately to protect the safety of journalists.

Muawiya Abdel Razek was killed on June 4 when RSF elements raided his home in Khartoum. Three of his siblings were also reportedly killed during the raid. Media also reported that RSF forces assassinated journalist Makawi Mohamed Ahmed on June 5.

The outbreak of the conflict between RSF and the Sudanese Army Force (SAF) in April 2023 has severely impacted the safety of journalists and media freedom. The Sudanese Journalist Syndicate (SJS) has documented numerous incidents of attacks on journalists, including arrest, and detention. At least 90 percent of media infrastructure has also been destroyed as a result of the ongoing conflict, according to SJS.

IPI calls on both parties involved in the conflict to urgently respect press freedom and guarantee the safety of journalists under international humanitarian law. Parties must refrain from targeting journalists and must protect and uphold the media’s critical role of providing information.

“The outbreak of the conflict in Sudan over a year ago continues to have a devastating impact on media freedom and journalist safety”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “We strongly condemn the killings of Muawiya Abdel Razek and Makawi Mohamed Ahmed and call on the relevant authorities in Sudan to investigate these crimes and hold those responsible to account. All parties to the ongoing conflict in Sudan are obligated under international law to protect journalists. The international community must apply pressure on parties in Sudan to ensure an end to attacks on journalists.”

Deadly conflict for the media

The killings of Razek and Ahmed add to a disturbing list of journalists killed during the ongoing conflict in  Sudan.

On March 2, journalist Khalid Balal was shot dead by soldiers in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state. Balal worked for the state-run Supreme Council for Media and Culture. 

On January 12, armed individuals raided the home of journalist Yusuf Arabi and shot him. He was working with the Blue Nile TV Channel in Omdurman and was accused of supporting the rival faction.

On October 10, 2023, elements of RSF killed journalist Halima Idris Salim of the online platform Sudan Bukra based in the UK. Salim was run over by an RSF vehicle when she was reporting on Omdurman Street, in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. 

RSF forces also killed photojournalist Essam Marjan in July last year.

In June 2023, journalist Samaher Abdelshafee, who worked for the West Darfur Zalingei Radio, was killed when the shelter that she and her relatives were staying in was hit by a shell. 

International humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention, also cited in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2222, demands that journalists and media workers operating in areas of armed conflict be treated and protected as civilians and allowed to perform their work without undue interference. Attacks intentionally targeting journalists, as civilians, constitute war crimes.