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'Darfur mass rape impossible, UN may enter area’: Sudan army

November 10 - 2014 KHARTOUM

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) dismissed reports about a mass rape in North Darfur on Sunday, and said that the UN-AU peacekeeping mission has now been authorised to investigate the allegations in Tabit village near El Fasher city. Sudanese opposition parties have condemned the rape, stressing that “it fosters ethnic segregation”.

The military spokesman Col. El Sawarmi Khaled Saad stressed that Tabit village is enjoying security and tranquillity, during a press conference on Sunday. He dismissed the reports about an alleged mass rape by Sudanese soldiers on 31 October. Khaled Saad wondered how around 200 women could have been violated, while Tabit is a small village, and the number of troops at the military post does not exceed on hundred soldiers, according to him. “Therefore, this accusation is illogical and does not resemble to the moral values of Sudanese, whether they are military or not," the spokesman told reporters, adding: "This is impossible."

He disclosed that tUnamid has been authorised to probe the sexual assault charges. The spokesman said that a verification patrol was denied access last Tuesday because it had not obtained permission from the authorities. “They are now heading to Tabit,” he told reporters in Khartoum at about 3 pm on Sunday.

'Soldier still missing'

In addition, Khaled Saad said that the military continues its search for a corporal who is still missing in the area. The villagers in Tabit, 60 km south-west of El Fasher, denied knowing his whereabouts to the SAF in the morning of Friday 31 October. A search to recover the missing soldier during the evening triggered his comrades to commit the alleged mass rape, sources told Sudan Tribune. Radio Dabanga reported that many women, including minors, were raped by the soldiers, until they left at 4 am on Saturday morning.

‘Rape fosters hatred’: Sudan’s opposition

The Sudanese National Umma Party (NUP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) have condemned the “ugly” mass rape of residents in El Fasher “that demands accountability” in press statements. The opposition parties called upon all factions and organisations in Sudan to condemn this incident.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, the PCP political secretary, said that if the crime was proved to be sponsored by the government forces, “all Sudanese forces, militias, politicians, and activists should condemn the incident”.

“It is contrary to religion, Sudanese values and customs, and fosters ethnic segregation and hatred,” the NUP said in its statement. In the same regard, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies described the incident as “systematic mass rape”. The parties and the African NGO asked the UN and the Security Council to send an independent investigation team to the affected area.

File photo: Military spokesman Col. El Sawarmi Khaled Saad (AlBashir.sd)

Related:

Sudan denies North Darfur mass rape reports, UN demands access (9 November 2014)

Commander admits to mass rape by soldiers in North Darfur (3 November 2014)


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