DW | Militiamen in Sudan raped men and women, says eyewitness

Demonstrators in Sudan have been demanding a transition to a civilian government. An eyewitness has told DW about sexual atrocities committed during the dispersal of a sit-in outside the army’s headquarters in Khartoum.

Nahid Jabrallah is a women’s rights campaigner and activist. In an exclusive interview with DW, she reported that numerous rapes of young Sudanese women had been recorded when security forces moved in to clear a sit-in protest in Khartoum calling for a return from military to civilian rule.

The alleged perpetrators were members of a paramilitary unit, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), part of the Sudanese security service. The RSF consist of the infamous Janjaweed militias, which are known to fight rebel groups on behalf of the army. They carried out countless human rights abuses during the civil war in Darfur, and the Sudanese regime has been using them for years.

Read more: Sudan protest leaders call for civil disobedience against military rulers

‘Everyone was threatened with being raped’

Jabrallah told DW that both women and men had been raped. She said that some of the bodies recovered from the Nile were of women who had been sexually abused, adding: “but cases of rape had already been documented in hospitals.” She explained that it had been difficult to establish exact numbers, as many local internet providers have been shut down and telephone connections are unreliable.

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Death toll in recent violence exceeds 100

When the army moved in on the sit-in blockade in Khartoum, Jabrallah found herself in the immediate vicinity. She says the demonstration was dispersed with violence; live ammunition, water cannon and tear gas were used to drive the demonstrators away. Jabrallah and some other people took refuge in a nearby building.

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