Sudan army repeats: ‘Accusations mass rape absolutely wrong’

Military spokesman says accusations by human rights group today “pressure to keep peacekeeping mission in Darfur”, denies that more than 200 women were raped in Tabit in October 2014.

The government of Sudan continues to deny any rape has taken place in Tabit in October 2014. A report of Human Rights Watch, presented today, confirms earlier reports by Dabanga Sudan that allegedly more than 200 women and girls have been raped.

Today (Wednesday), Sudan's military spokesman, El Sawarmi Khalid Saad, rejected the accusations, calling them "absolutely wrong". He described them to Reuters as a bid to pressure Sudan to keep the joint UN-AU peacekeeping force (Unamid) in Darfur.

"All the accusations about Tabit area came as reaction after the Sudan government request for Unamid to leave Sudan," according to the SAF spokesman. "Some bodies are using these false accusations as pressure to keep Unamid in Darfur."

The first reports on the mass rape in Tabit came on 2 November. Initially the local military commander admitted the rape according to our report. Later, the Sudanese government responded with a fierce denial, and blocked off Tabit for visitors. Authorities in the area threatened civilians to not speak about the alleged crime.

The security service also started to arrest several civilians who are still kept in an undisclosed place, Human Rights Watch said today in its detailed report on the mass rape.

On 24 November, Sudan closed the human rights office of the Unamid peacekeeping mission after UN-chief Ban Ki-moon requested full access to Tabit to investigate the mass rape claims.

Days later, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced publicly that it wanted Unamid to start preparations to leave the country. Two high-ranking officials of the UN in Sudan were expelled in December.

Read more about the Tabit mass rape case here