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'Sudan army has no right to dismiss Darfur rape reports': activist

November 11 - 2014 KHARTOUM

A human rights activist in Sudan said that the Sudanese army has no right to dismiss the accusations “until it has heard witnesses and victims from all sides”.

The military spokesman Colonel El Sawarmi Khaled Saad told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that he dismisses the accusations against the army, calling them “impossible”. He justified that Unamid was denied access to Tabit because it did not receive permission to do so.

However, lawyer and human rights activist, Nabil Adib, said that the military spokesman has no right to dismiss the accusations, as “the law is recognised by confession, and not taken by denial”. Adib told Radio Dabanga that before openly disbelieving the reports, Khaled Saad should have formed an independent inquiry committee.

“After hearing the witnesses and victims from all sides, he could have raised recommendations, backed by all the facts of what happened. Then all measures for criminal charges could be taken,” Adib stressed. He pointed out that the Sudanese army has “no right to face the incident with questioning and doubts”.

On Monday, Unamid released a statement following its visit to Tabit on Sunday. The team did not receive “any information regarding the allegations in the media during the period in question”, five days after a verification patrol was denied access to investigate the mass rape of many women and girls in Tabit.

“Village community leaders reiterated to Unamid that they coexist peacefully with local military authorities in the area,” the statement read. The UN-AU peacekeeping mission did not mention that the team was accompanied by the government's security officials.

Villagers in Tabit said they were shocked when they heard the conclusion of Unamid. “How come [they say] nothing happened? And what about all those girls? Here they are suffering…,” a group of women treating the rape victims in the village told Radio Dabanga yesterday.

Several witnesses confirmed to Radio Dabanga that authorities and the army commander ordered the villagers not to talk to Unamid about the rape.

Archive photo: Sudanese soldiers patrolling in Darfur

Related:

Denial of Darfur rape case by Unamid shocks Tabit victims (11 November 2014)

Security Council doubts Unamid report on mass rape (11 November 2014)


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