Fourteen women raped by militants in North Darfur

Militiamen and Border Guards rape a total of fourteen women in separate incidents in East Jebel Marra and North Darfur. The women were out farming or fetching water.

Several incidents involving rape occurred in East Jebel Marra, in North Darfur, over the weekend. Fourteen women in total were sexually assaulted at the hands of militiamen, witnesses told Radio Dabanga.

Pro-government militiamen, moving in three vehicles and on camels, attacked a group of women inside Hillet Ahmed, 6km south of Tabit, on Sunday. At about 8pm, they took six women out of their home and the village and raped them. The women, four of them married and two unmarried, were not released until early next morning, a witness reported to Radio Dabanga.

On Saturday, government-backed militiamen riding on camels assaulted seven women who were out to fetch water west of Hillet Ahmed. All of them were raped at the water well.

The mother of one of the rape victims told Radio Dabanga that the victims and their relatives in the village went out to report both incidents to the military garrison in Tabit. But the soldiers did not respond, nor move to chase down the perpetrators.

A woman was raped in Korma, El Fasher locality, when she was preparing farmland to cultivate during the agricultural summer season, at the hands of members of the Border Intelligence Guards. The guards beat her and other women working at the farm badly, resulting in the serious injuries of three of them.

Korma is close to a base of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur.

A relative of the rape victim added that the Border Guards then threatened the people in Korma that anyone who would go out to cultivate their farmland, will be beaten. Women will be raped. They demanded that the land is meant for the grazing of livestock, not for farming.

Years of conflict in Darfur have caused that many men have left or perished in battles with soldiers, rebels or militias. The household in rural Darfur is therefore marked by their absence, and women often have to fend for themselves when it comes to growing crops.

Tabit rape

Sudanese army forces from the nearby garrison raped more than 200 women and girls in Tabit for two consecutive nights, at the end of October and the beginning of November 2014. The soldiers then explained that they were ordered to do so, in search for a missing colleague. The men of Tabit were detained and threatened so the soldiers had a free rein in sexually assaulting the women in the village.

Human Rights Watch confirmed the reports, first made by Radio Dabanga, on 11 February. It described the situation in Tabit as like “living in an open prison”: Since the attacks, Sudanese government officials, military commanders, and traditional leaders have threatened, intimidated, beaten, detained, and tortured residents of Tabit to prevent them from speaking out, the report stated.