Accounts of rape increase in war-torn Sudan

Seleima Ishag, head of the Combating Violence Against Women Unit (File photo: Sovereignty Council)


Reports of sexual harassment and rapes in various parts of the country are increasing. “We receive new reports night and day,” the head of the Sudanese Combating Violence Against Women Unit said on Saturday.

While Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) crimes and Violence against Women and Girls (VAW/G) in private and public spaces are an integral part of the current war, they are underreported, due to the chaos created by the war, the weak telecommunications and Internet connections, and the stigma experienced by rape survivors.

Reports reached Radio Dabanga from Kutum in North Darfur that at least 18 women, including four minors, were raped on Tuesday. The crimes took place during continued attacks on the town by large groups of gunmen (allegedly members of the Border Guards militia) and paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Kutum in North Darfur.

On Saturday, Seleima Ishag, head of the Combating Violence Against Women Unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said that “most of the victims of sexual assaults are women and girls aged 12-17”.


In the end of May, Radio Dabanga reported about a growing number of reported rape cases in greater Khartoum and Darfur.

In the capital, 24 rape cases were confirmed since the war between the Sudan Armed forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support forces (RSF) and in Darfur, at least 25 women and girls aged 14-56 were raped. The real number however was “likely to be much higher”.

In 43 of the cases, the victims said that the perpetrators were wearing an RSF uniform”, Ishag said.

RSF soldiers who are occupying large parts of the Sudanese capital continue their raids on houses and other buildings, and the plundering, abductions, and sexual assaults.

“There are new reports night and day,” Ishag stated. “There is not a single woman in Khartoum anymore who feels safe, not even in her own home.”

A reliable source reported sexual exploitation taking place, especially in the peripheral areas of greater Khartoum, including the poor suburbs El Ezba and El Gemayer in Omdurman, where many displaced from earlier wars live.

She observed that RSF forces are taking advantage, in exchange for basic needs, of many women who have become even more financially vulnerable by the current conflict.


The Office of Support to Civilian Protection in the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) continues to monitor the human rights and protection situation in the country.

The continued fighting between army forces and RSF soliders in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri), has led to killings of civilians, bombings, occupation and looting of civilian property, remains of great concern, UNITAMS reported on Monday.

“The situation in West Darfur, Garsila (Central Darfur) and Kutum (North Darfur) has also continued to deteriorate, affecting civilians, including women and children, many of whom have been trapped among the warrying parties.

“Human rights officers are currently documenting dozens of incidents, including killings, arrests, possible disappearances, attacks on hospitals, sexual violence, and other forms of grave violations against children, committed by parties to the conflict,” the UN agency stated.