15-year-old daughter of Sudan anti-graft politician gang-raped

Manshiya Bridge across the Blue Nile at Khartoum (Wikimedia commons)

The 15-year-old daughter a leading member of Sudan’s suspended Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC)*, was abducted and gang-raped by as yet unidentified assailants on Friday.

Reports from the Sudan capital allege that the perpetrators abducted the daughter from in front of her family home in El Maamoura. The assailants then gang-raped her before dumping her in the open near the Manshiya Bridge, which crosses the Blue Nile to the east of Khartoum.

The incident was reported to police. However, no suspects have yet been identified or arrested.

According to reports, the victim was told by her assailants to inform her father, El Tayeb Osman El Samani, of what had happened. Osman, who is the former Secretary General of the suspended ERC and a retired police officer, is a regular participant in the preparatory workshops organised by the Sudanese Professionals Association on the future work of the ERC.

News of the incident set social media alight, sparking widespread condemnation from other leading politicians in Sudan. Fellow ERC member, Salah Manaa, tweeted from his residence in Cairo later on Friday that “the reason for the girl’s rape is her father’s work for the committee”.

Manaa stated that similar intimidation tactics against the children and women of political adversaries first appeared following the 1989 coup, and were “introduced by the political Islam”.

He went on to add that this practice was especially prevalent during the genocide war in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains and again utilised during the 2018 December revolutionaries and the sit-in in front of the Military command in Khartoum on June 3, 2019.

Manaa pointed the finger at affiliates of the dissolved National Congress Party, founded by ousted President Omar Al Bashir, as well as elements within the Popular Security Forces.

Police Lt Col El Tayeb Osman has been a vocal opponent of the former regime and recently criticised the police forces, stating that they “are still controlled by beliefs and behaviour inherited from the former regime,” posing a challenge to meaningful reforms.

Manaa said that he considers this incident “a dangerous shift in the conflict between the military and the revolutionaries”.

The ERC member’s Twitter diatribe on Saturday called on the directors of police and intelligence in Khartoum to resign due to their failure in detecting the culprits.

He presented aspects of the incident that would have led to the perpetrators being caught, had the police “properly investigated”. Manaa stated that “descriptions of the brand and colour of the vehicle and the time of the incident” were available, “more than 15 cameras between 60th Street and the El Manshiya Bridge at the entrance and exit” are present, and “the victim’s phone was left behind in the perpetrators vehicle”.

Khalid Silik, a leading member of the Sudanese Congress Party and the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FCC-CC), also took to Twitter on Friday saying that, “What happened to this girl who did not complete 15-years-of-age and was without fault- other than that she was the daughter of one of the members of the ERC”.

He added that this “inhumane and immoral act and only indicates the baseness and low morals of the elements of the defunct regime and their dirty, poisonous methods that ravaged the bodies of the people of Sudan for 30 years.”

The Sudanese Congress Party said in a statement on Saturday that “this heinous crime is an extension of many attempts to break the thorn of the Empowerment Removal Committee, and an attempt to dissuade it from its pivotal role in uprooting the roots of corruption from within the Sudanese state”.

* The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption and Recovery of Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok in end 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the ousted regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir (1989-2019). The ERC was suspended following the military coup d’état in October 2021. A number of its members were temporary detained and its decisions were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2022.

Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the Al Bashir government supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions.