Darfur: Continuing Mass Rape of Girls

UPDATE to: “Continuing Mass Rape of Girls in Darfur: The most heinous crime generates no international outrage” | January 2016 | 

Eric Reeves, Blog

3 April 2016


Image: As a weapon of war, nothing could be more dispiriting than the rape of girls and women—and yet in the face of a conspicuous epidemic of sexual violence in Darfur, the world remains essentially silent

Rape—and particularly the rape of girls and women under 25 years of age—continues to serve as a brutal weapon of war in Darfur, particularly in East Jebel Marra and currently in the extended Jebel Marra area. In addition to its use as a weapon of war, rape and sexual violence are increasingly used as a tool of political repression. Human Rights Watch has published a report (March 23, 2016) documenting the ominous increase in use of this barbaric tactic: “Sudan: Silencing Women Rights Defenders.” Speaking of “Sexual Abuse, Intimidation by Security Forces,” Human Rights Watch notes:

Sudanese security forces have used sexual violence, intimidation, and other forms of abuse to silence female human rights defenders across [Sudan], Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should investigate all alleged abuses, hold those responsible to account, and undertake legislative reforms to protect women’s rights.

The 61-page report, “‘Good Girls Don’t Protest’: Repression and Abuse of Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, and Protesters in Sudan,” documents:

…efforts by Sudanese authorities to silence women who are involved in protests, rights campaigns, and other public action, and who provide social services and legal aid, as well as journalists. Women engaged in these efforts are targeted with a range of abuses, from rape and rape threats, to deliberate efforts to tar their reputations.

Sexual violence in Darfur continues unabated, a weapon of war that has seen tens of thousands of girls and women raped over the past thirteen years. Radio Dabanga reports on the extension of this campaign to the ongoing military offensive in Jebel Marra:

• ‘Mass rape in Guldo in Darfur’s Jebel Marra’ | March 30, 2016 | GULDO, JEBEL MARRA

According to multiple sources in Jebel Marra, government troops reportedly raped ‘a large number of women’ in Guldo on Monday evening. “Army and militia troops in about 30 vehicles arrived at Guldo on Monday afternoon,” a resident of Guldo told Radio Dabanga. “After sunset, they began roaming the town, broke into the houses, and raped many, many women in the presence of their families, at gunpoint,” he said.

Khazan Tunjur

In Argotogo village, 13 kilometres southwest of Khazan Tunjur in North Darfur’s Tawila locality, three paramilitaries gang-raped a woman on Tuesday afternoon. A relative of the victim told Radio Dabanga that the woman (25) and her mother were on their way from Argotogo village to the market of Khazan Tunjur, when three members of a government militia on camels and wearing military uniforms intercepted them. “They robbed them of their belongings, after which they took turns to rape the woman,” she said.

‘Weapon of war’

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its World Report 2016, patterns of rape across Darfur in 2014 and 2015 show that various Sudanese units have deliberately committed rape against large numbers of women in many attacks at various locations and times. “Sudan’s forces have frequently raped and terrorised civilians with impunity,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW Africa director. “The pattern, scale, and frequency of rape suggest that Sudan’s security forces have adopted this sickeningly cruel practice as a weapon of war.”


Girls and women are terrifyingly vulnerable amidst the ethnically-targeted violence in Darfur



Specific reports from Radio Dabanga (RD) from the first three months of 2016 reveal that the onslaught of sexual violence continues and may be accelerating with the current Jebel Marra offensive by Khartoum and its militia allies, primarily the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)–a militia force that the regime has openly embraced as an utterly ruthless means of breaking all resistance to Khartoum’s tyranny in Darfur. RD offers numerous eyewitness accounts of rapes, particularly of girls and very young women from across Darfur: virtually all victims are twenty-five years of age of younger. This is profoundly destructive of family and social relations within the affected village populations, stigmatizing girls and young women of marriageable age. The violent brutality of what are often agonizingly long gang-rapes is also undiminished.

Notably, many of the dispatches reporting rapes also report eyewitness account of both regular and uniformed militia forces engaging in rape, as well as the presence of foreign fighters, conspicuous both linguistically and by virtue of their unfamiliar clothing. They are clearly mercenaries from neighboring countries (such as Chad, Niger, and Mali) who have been promised land and booty in exchange for participation in the regime’s genocidal counter-insurgency campaign. The word “Janjaweed” has come to mean any Arab armed group on camels, horses, motorcycles, or four-wheel vehicles. (Note passages in these dispatches (and above) highlighted in purple.)

Jebel Marra (primarily Central Darfur) and East Jebel Marra (North Darfur) remain the epicenter of Khartoum’s military efforts, and consequently of sexual violence. The two have always been closely inter-connected in the Darfur genocide.

Despite reports about sexual violence agains girls, many of them quite young, from Human Rights Watch and many others, the international community is essentially silent in the face of these horrors. And inevitably, the Khartoum regime construes silence as acquiescence. To date there has been no explicit condemnation, by any international actor of consequence, speaking directly and specifically to Khartoum’s undeniable sanctioning of the rape of girls as part of its use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in Darfur.  This is cowardly, shameful—and will be an inevitable part of any history of the disgraceful international response to Darfur’s thirteen years of agony.

[It is of course the case that the number of rapes is only partially recorded in these dispatches from RD, assiduously as it may try to report all war crimes] —

• Two girls raped, others held in Tabit, North Darfur | March 31, 2016 | TABIT, North Darfur

Twelve people were held hostage and two girls were raped by armed men in Tawila locality on Wednesday. Relatives of the victims said that gunmen from the [Arab] Abbala tribe intercepted a group of people in Tukumari, who left Tabit to fetch straw and firewood. The attackers whipped the people and held them for hours before releasing them. Two girls, aged 14 and 16, were raped. They have been transferred to a health centre in Tabit for treatment after the rape was reported to the local police station.


The willingness by Khartoum’s regular and militia forces to rape, and gang-rape,  girls as young as six and seven years of age reflects and unsurpassable barbarism

• Women robbed, 13-year-old gang-raped in West Darfur | January 7, 2016 | SIRBA, West Darfur

Militiamen assaulted a group of young women and girls near the market of Armenkol in Sirba locality on Wednesday. They gang-raped one of them. “Early on Wednesday evening, militiamen in a Land Cruiser intercepted a group of young women and girls who had just visited the Armankol market,” a relative of the victim reported to Radio Dabanga. “The janjaweed robbed them of their money, mobile phones, and purchases. The victims managed to run away, except one, a 13-years-old girl. They raped her alternately for four hours,” she said. Relatives found her unconscious and carried her to the hospital. The attack was reported to the police who did not react.


Each girl is also a daughter and likely a niece, a sister, and perhaps essential to her family’s well-being

• Two girls gang-raped in Gireida, South Darfur | February 11, 2016 | GIREIDA, South Darfur

Four gunmen raped two displaced girls in Gireida locality in South Darfur on Wednesday afternoon. A resident of the Donki Idrisa camp for the displaced informed Radio Dabanga that four gunmen ambushed the 15 and 17-year-old girls as they were on their way to collect firewood in Rahad Abu Idrisa, one kilometre from the camp. “The gunmen were returning from the market of El Taga, when they intercepted the girls, and raped them alternately,” he said. “Passers-by who found them lying on the ground took them to Gireida hospital.”

• Nine raped, including minors, near North Darfur camp | March 1, 2016 | EL FASHER, North Darfur

Gunmen raped nine displaced women from Zamzam camp in North Darfur on Saturday 27 January. Among them were four minors. The camp coordinator in El Fasher locality told Radio Dabanga that a group of gunmen riding camels attacked the displaced girls and women when they were out collecting hay northwest of Zamzam. The attackers took the group to an adjacent valley at gunpoint, where they raped the five women and the girls, aged 11, 12, 14, and 15 years. “They were at their hands for a full day and systematically raped,” the coordinator said. “They were not released until the next day.” The four girls are being treated in the hospital in El Fasher, as all are either in shock or coma.

• Farmers attacked, 16-year-old raped in North Darfur | February 21, 2016 | TABIT, North Darfur

On Thursday, a group of militiamen on camels ambushed a number of tobacco farmers in a valley near Tabit. They wounded a man, gang-raped a girl, and stole more than 200 head of livestock. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, one of the farmers reported that “about 16 members of a government militia riding camels attacked us in Garango valley, north of Tabit. “They severely beat us with their rifles and whips before they seized a 16-year-old girl and raped her alternately,” he said. The attackers took 150 head of sheep and goats and 25 donkeys with them when they left.


There is no protection against men with automatic weapons and traveling on horseback, camel-back, or in vehicles–armed, and utterly ruthless

• Two young women raped in Darfur’s Jebel Marra | January 3, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA

A group of gunmen raped two young women from Katur village in Jebel Marra today.

A neighbour reported to Radio Dabanga that the women, aged 17 and 18, were on their way to the area north of Katur on Sunday morning to collect straw, when they were intercepted by armed men riding camels. “The janjaweed raped both women in the open,” she said. “The crime was reported to the military base near Katur, but they did not move to hunt down the perpetrators.”

• Withdrawing troops rape, pillage, murder in Darfur’s Nierteti | January 21, 2016 | NIERTETI, Central Darfur

On Tuesdaymembers of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) raped five women who fled air raids on villages east of Nierteti, an activist informed Radio Dabanga. She said that about a hundred villagers from four villages east of Nierteti, who fled from aerial and artillery attacks, were intercepted by a group of militiamen riding horses, camels, and motorcycles half a kilometre from the town. “The militiamen robbed them of everything they had loaded on their donkeys. They then seized five women, among them minors and a disabled woman, and raped them,” the activist reported. “The victims arrived at Nierteti in a very bad condition.”

• Jebel Marra in Darfur: Three rape victims tell their story | January 21, 2016 | NIERTETI, Central Darfur

Three of the five girls and women who were gang-raped near Nierteti in Central Darfur on Tuesday, were prepared to tell their story to Radio Dabanga today.

During their flight from air raids on their villages east of Nierteti, in the southern part of Jebel Marra, five women, among them two minors, were raped by militiamen. The militiamen withdrew from a major offensive in Mount Marra, the Sudanese military launched against rebel combatants of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) on Friday.

One of the victims, aged 15, told Radio Dabanga that she, together with her family and neighbours, fled the aerial bombardments on Katur village on Tuesday morning. “On our way to Nierteti town, we saw large numbers of militiamen on motorcycles and others riding horses and camels attacking the fleeing villagers,” she said. “They raped any woman or girl they were able to seize, even the old women.” “I tried to hide in the wilderness, but I was seized by four militiamen, who raped me in turns. After they left me, people took me with them to Nierteti. I do not know the whereabouts of my mother and sisters.”

Another victim, 14-years-old, said that the people of her village, Keninga, fled the air raids and attacks by government forces in groups. “Our group took the road directly leading to Nierteti. When we approached the town, janjaweed on motorcycles, horses and camels intercepted us. I tried to run, but five of them grabbed me, and raped me alternately. I saw ten other girls and women being raped in the nearby valley,” she related.

The third victim (45) told Radio Dabanga that she fled Keninga village with her three children and her handicapped aunt. “Near Nierteti, large groups of militiamen on camels and horses attacked the fleeing people. Eight of them tied my oldest son (25) to a tree in the valley nearby, and began raping me and my crippled aunt alternately.  “These janjaweed did hardly speak Arabic,” she noted.

She saw many other fleeing women being raped. “Yet I cannot say how many exactly.” The woman said that she could not find her children after the rape. “I have been searching for them as far as possible with all the militiamen in the neighbourhood.”


As violence escalates, so too does the vulnerability of girls and women

One raped in Kutum, North Darfur | February 19, 2016 | KUTUM, North Darfur

In Kutum locality, a young woman was raped on Monday. A 19-year-old woman was raped by an armed man in military uniform 9 kilometres north of Kutum on Monday. He raped her for four hours, a relative of the victim said.

• One killed, farmer raped in North Darfur | March 29, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

Two armed men, wearing military uniforms, attacked Ibrahim Abdel Majid Ahmed and shot him dead at Farig Tamu, 10 kilometres west of Khazan Tunjur in East Jebel Marra. A witness told Radio Dabanga that they stole 20 animals from him, and fled. A family member told Radio Dabanga yesterday that her cousin left Sharafa, in the area popularly known as East Jebel Marra, on Sunday morning to work on her tomato farm. 15 kilometres south of Tabit, two armed men riding camels assaulted and repeatedly raped her.

• Three raped in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra | January 10, 2016 | EAST JEBEL MARRA

A group of gunmen raped three young women in Tawila locality, North Darfur, popularly known as East Jebel Marra, today. “The women, aged 18, 22, and 23, left Argotugo village in the vicinity of Khazan Tunjur this (Sunday) afternoon to collect firewood and straw,” a relative of the victims reported to Radio Dabanga.

• Three gang-raped near Tabit in North Darfur | January 25, 2016 | TABIT, North Darfur

A group of militiamen raped three women in the area of Tabit in Tawila locality in North Darfur on Sundayafternoon. A relative of the victims told Radio Dabanga that members of a government militia in a Land Cruiser and others on camels ambushed the three women, aged 21, 23, and 25, as they collected firewood in the area of Keira, 15 kilometres west of Tabit. “They raped them repeatedly at gunpoint.”


There is no adequate condolence for mothers or victims

• Two [girls] raped near North Darfur camp | February 9, 2016 SHANGIL TOBAYA, North Darfur

Gunmen raped two girls from Shaddad camp for displaced people in North Darfur on Sunday. A relative of the victims told Radio Dabanga that in the afternoon, gunmen, riding camels, attacked the girls outside of the camp and raped them at gunpoint. They hit them with whips and rifle butts and both victims broke their hands.

• Woman raped, robbed in North Darfur | January 6, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

A 22-year-old woman was repeatedly raped near the village of Kenjara located some 15 kilometres east of Tawila in North Darfur on Wednesday. A relative told Radio Dabanga that the raped woman was harvesting a crop of beans she planted near to the village of Kenja. “Two militiamen attacked her. They first took turns to rape her and then made off with her beans.”

• Two women shot, two more raped in Darfur | February 2 – 2016 JEBEL MARRA / TAWILA

Two women were shot dead, and a woman and girl were raped in two separate incidents in Darfur on Mondaymorning. A listener told Radio Dabanga that four armed men, wearing military uniforms and riding camels, shot Halima Ibrahim Juma (35) and Sadia Adam Yagoub (40) five kilometres southeast of the Jebel Marra mountains. They both died on the spot.

The same gunmen intercepted a 14-year-old girl and a 21-year-old woman, six kilometres west of Katur in Tawila locality, near Burra. They took turns raping them. The listener said that the health condition of both victims is “very serious, in particular the young girl is in a bad shape.” They are receiving traditional treatment.

• Six women raped in Darfur’s Shangil Tobaya | February 12, 2016 | SHANGIL TOBAYA, North Darfur

Six women, including a girl, have been raped in three separate events in the vicinity of Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. The attackers sparked panic among the villagers when they raided the market. [NB]: Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that 17 buses arrived from El Fasher in Shangil Tobaya on Wednesday evening. “They carried fighters of Sudanese pro-government militias and others, who wore unfamiliar clothes, of foreign armed movements,” one of them claimed.

• Two raped for hours in North Darfur | February 17, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

Two young women aged 18 and 20, from Rwanda camp in Tawila, North Darfur, were raped for eight hours by pro-government militiamen on Monday. The women were collecting firewood west of town, when eight militia members on camels attacked them. The women were gang-raped from 11 am until 7 pm in the evening on Monday. A witness said they reported the incident to UNAMID and the police. The two victims were transferred to a hospital for treatment.


Girls and women are most often attacked when they leave camps or villages to gather wood for cooking or water for drinking

• Three Darfuris raped in Tawila locality |February 16, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

Two girls and a woman were raped in Tawila locality in North Darfur, in the east of Jebel Marra, in separate incidents on Monday. A relative of two victims told Radio Dabanga that gunmen, riding on the backs of camels, attacked the girls, aged 16 and 17, at 11 am while they were collecting straw at Tangarara, 15 kilometres south of Tabit. The men raped them at gunpoint. The relative said that the family informed the army garrison in Tabit about the incident. “But they told us that they had received orders that all complaints are to be reported to the authorities in Tawila.”

• Murder, rape [of young woman] in Tawila, North Darfur | March 9, 2016 | FANGA / TABIT, North Darfur

On Tuesday, militiamen shot and killed two herders south of Fanga on the border of Jebel Marra and Tawila locality in North Darfur. A young woman was raped near Tabit.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a witness reported that the victims were grazing their cattle when a group of militiamen in three vehicles mounted with Dushka machineguns and others riding camels attacked them. “They killed Darelnaeem Saleh Ahmed (42) and Kaltoum Yousef Eida (35), and stole 41 of their cows.”


Two men in military uniforms riding camels ambushed two women as they were collecting water from Bir Keira, 10 kilometres west of Tabit. “They left the elderly woman but took the young one and raped her alternately,” a relative of the victim said. “We took her in a very poor condition to a health clinic.”  

• Women resist rapists in Tawila, North Darfur | February 4, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

•Woman raped in Tawila, North Darfur | January 15 – 2016 TAWILA, North Darfur

Three militiamen raped a married woman near Katur in Tawila locality, North Darfur, on Tuesday. A woman from the village estimated that the victim is about 19 years old. She told Radio Dabanga that the militiamen, riding camels, found the woman out in the open where she was collecting straw and firewood. “They threatened and beat her before they raped her.” People discovered the victim at the location of the incident later that day.

• Two displaced gang-raped in South Darfur’s Gireida | January 1,  2016 | GIREIDA, South Darfur

Four gunmen raped two young women from the Babanusa camp for the displaced in Gireida locality in South Darfur on Thursday. In an other incident, a woman was injured when she resisted a rape attempt near Gireida. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, an activist reported from Gireida that the two women, aged 19 and 20, left the camp on Thursday morning to collect firewood in the area of Safia, northwest of Gireida. “They were intercepted and repeatedly raped by four janjaweed on horses and donkeys. Some of them wore military uniforms,” he said.

• Water collector [girl] raped near Tabit in North Darfur | February 7, 2016 | TABIT, North Darfur

Two militiamen raped a 17-year-old [girl] west of Tabit in North Darfur on Thursday morning. “Two militia members on motorcycles intercepted the woman as she was returning from the well of Jabayeen, 15 kilometres west of Tabit,” a relative of the victim reported to Radio Dabanga. “They seized her at gunpoint and repeatedly raped her.” She…was found later, lying on the ground, by people visiting the well.

• Water collector raped in Tawila, North Darfur | March 28, 2016 | TAWILA, North Darfur

On Sunday, two militiamen raped a 23-year-old woman in southern Tawila locality.

“The assault took place in the vicinity of Katur village, about 10 kilometres north of Dubo El Omda in East Jebel Marra,” a relative of the victim told Radio Dabanga. The area is popularly known as East Jebel Marra. “When the victim returned with water collected from a well near Katur, two men riding camels and wearing military uniforms intercepted her. “They repeatedly raped her, after which they left, taking her donkey with them,” he said.


Second Vice-President Hassabo of the Khartoum regime, who is reported to have referred to the African populations of East Jebel Marra and Jebel Marra as “insects”–an attitude that suggests why rape in Darfur is so utterly brutal and destructive. The Obama administration has declared that it does not want to see “regime change” in Khartoum, but rather the democratic transformation of Sudan under the current National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, of which Vice-President Hassabo is a member.  This preposterous vision amounts to complicity in what continues to occur on a daily basis in Darfur.


© 2016 · Eric Reeves

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