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Darfur: Four young firewood collecters raped

April 8 - 2016 TAWILA / MERSHING
Women return from collecting firewood to the Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur (Paul Jeffrey)
Women return from collecting firewood to the Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur (Paul Jeffrey)

Armed men raped four displaced girls who were collecting firewood near their camps in North and South Darfur this week.

In Tawila locality, a relative of two rape victims told Radio Dabanga that "militant tribesmen" attacked the girls when they were collecting firewood, 2 kilometres from Rwanda camp. They are 15 and 17 years old.

"They were raped for four hours," the relative said. People discovered the bleeding girls and took them to a health centre of Doctors Without Borders for treatment. "They are in a poor health and mental state."

In Tabajak, in northern Mershing locality, gunmen raped two girls on Friday. They also abducted four displaced people.

A coordinator of the camps in Mershing, South Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that members of a militia, riding camels and wearing military uniforms, attacked a number of displaced people who were out to gather firewood in Tabajak.

"They grabed the two girls and raped them. Four of the displaced intervened and managed to rescue the girls, but the militiamen beat them, and took the four to an unknown destination." 

Firewood collectors vulnerable

On International Women's Day on 8 March this year, Hanan Hassan, an official in Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur, told this station: “Displaced women suffer rapes and assaults by militiamen while going out to collect firewood.”

From November 2014 to 2015, Radio Dabanga received 94 reports of sexual violence from the whole Darfur region. Nearly all incidents were reported by relatives of the victims. The majority of the victims was raped while tending farms or collecting firewood and straw.

The prevalence of sexual violence in Sudan reflects wider discrimination against women and girls across Sudan, in public, by the police, and in Sudanese laws, Human Rights Watch wrote in its World  Report in January.

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