Over 70 rapes reported to have been carried out by paramilitaries in Khartoum, Sudan

Protesters create a burning barricade in Khartoum, Sudan so that the Military Council will hand over power to civilians. Protesters create a burning barricade in Khartoum, Sudan so that the Military Council will hand over power to civilians. REUTERS/Stringer

11 June 2019

Sudanese doctors describe dozens of rapes, killings, and injuries carried out during an attack on the protest camp in the capital city.

On the third of June, Sudanese paramilitaries were reported to have raped more than 70 people while conducting an attack on a pro-democracy protest camp in the capital city of Khartoum. As the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries clashed with protesters, the RSF used excessive force on civilians, causing an estimated number of 100 deaths and 700 injuries. In the aftermath, dozens of bodies have been found in the Nile River.

Although the extent of sexual violence remains unknown due to communication restrictions in Sudan, several rape cases have been reported despite the cut off the internet connection in Khartoum. Namely, a doctor at Royal Care hospital described treating eight victims of rape: five women and three men, whereas another hospital reported receiving two rape cases including a single victim raped by four paramilitaries. Many witnesses on social media reported similar cases, showing videos of paramilitaries charging, shooting, and beating unarmed civilians. 

Paramilitaries invaded a hospital close to the protest site and assaulted at least one civilian, with most assaults having occurred in the streets as the RSF was chasing protesters during the week-long sit-in. Due to the unstable situation in the capital, limited medical assistance and the fear of government reprisals, a multitude of victims remain untreated. 

Shops remain closed and streets are deserted. Even though the military leaders ordered the deferral of religious celebrations marking the festival of Eid, thousands of protesters defied the order and proceeded to put up roadblocks in the streets.

The military, who has been in power since April 2019 after ousting the previous president Omar al-Bashir, has refused to acknowledge the protesters’ demands and blamed the coalition of pro-democracy groups, Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), for the unrest. Lt Gen Jamaleddine Omar, from the Military Council, has accused protesters of committing a crime by blocking the streets as it prevents people from carrying on in their daily routines.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has criticised the use of brutal force towards the protesters and demanded an independent investigation to be conducted. Simultaneously, the African Union (AU) has suspended Sudan in its capacity as a member until a civilian-led transitional authority is created. Meanwhile, the DFCF plans to continue campaigning for a change until a democratic system is established in Sudan.


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Author: Giulia DeLuca; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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