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Rape and GBV a constant threat for displaced women as North Darfur violence persists

September 13 - 2021 TABIT / EL FASHER
File photo: RD
File photo: RD

Women and girls displaced by violence and lawlessness in Darfur face the additional constant threat of rape and gender based violence (GBV), long used as an instrument of terror by the forces and militias of the former regime, and now at the hand of “armed and organised” marauding bandits. Activists have reported 17 cases of rape at Zamzam camp, south of the North Darfur capital El Fasher, since the current spate of armed attacks on dozens of villages began in July and August.

Among the victims was a 13-year-old girl who was gang-raped by gunmen, activist Touma Juma told Radio Dabanga. Another girl was raped in front of her family.

In the latest report, witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a girl was raped on Thursday evening in an attack on the area north of Koshni, after which the gunmen made off with everything of value in the village, including relief goods, blankets, and mosquito nets. They complain that the attackers fired randomly into the air to drive people from their villages and agricultural lands. Farmers say that the bandits have destroyed most of the agricultural land in the area.

On Tuesday, seven armed men in military uniforms gang raped a 17-year-old north of Tabit.

‘The gunmen attack agricultural land by day and villages at night, leading to mass displacement’ – Omda Bahreldin Osman

Activist Siham Hasan told Radio Dabanga that more than 48,000 people have been displaced to Zamzam, Tawila, and Shagra camps, from more than 10 large villages in Tarni area in Tawila locality since Friday. 63 villages have been destroyed since early August.

3,000 families are still trapped between the Tunjur reservoir and the village of Tunjur, while 1,500 displaced people have arrived in Tabit and are living in the open, residents of the area said.

Omda Bahreldin Osman reported the displacement of 26,000 people from 38 villages in Tawila locality alone since the beginning of August as a result of militant attacks and destruction of agricultural land.

He told Radio Dabanga that the areas in the Tarni administrative unit in the southeast have become devoid of residents as a result of the continued attacks for 42 days without any intervention from the authorities.

Omda Osman described the attacking groups as “armed and organised”, riding motorcycles and camels. The bandits also set up roadblocks. “The gunmen attack agricultural land by day and villages at night, leading to mass displacement.” He noted that large numbers of livestock have been allowed to graze on farms in the area, “resulting in the complete destruction of the agricultural land”.

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