Home | News    Monday 10 November 2014

Sudanese army denies mass rape in Darfur as UNAMID investigates claims

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November 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese army once again dismissed reports about a mass rape in North Darfur state revealing that the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been authorised to investigate the allegations.

The official spokesman of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

Reports from Darfur suggest soldiers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) raped some 200 women in Tabit village located at 45 km south-west of the state capital El-Fasher.

Sources say a soldier from the military garrison in the area was missed in Tabit after he went to the village to meet his girl friend. The denial of his whereabouts by the villagers, triggered a search to recover the missing soldiers. His angry colleagues allegedly committed the punitive mass rape during this night operation.

Last Wednesday a patrol of peacekeepers dispatched to investigate the allegations was denied access to the area. The UNAMID protested and accused Khartoum of breaching the SOFA agreement.

The military spokesperson al-Sawarmi Khaled held a press conference on Sunday where he said that “reports about the mass rape by SAF soldiers are baseless and without justification”, pointing out that the armed forces are affected by the loss of one of its military in the village.

Khaled stressed that the village Tabit enjoys security and tranquillity "We continue our search for one of our military personnel and our troops did not infringe on any person and did not terrorise the innocent."

"We confirm that a Corporal is still missing until this moment,” he further stressed.

SAF spokesperson wondered how there can be 200 women violated while Tabit is a small village and the number of troops in the military post does not exceed one hundred soldiers.

Therefore, this accusation is illogical and does not resemble to the moral values of Sudanese, whether they are military or no," Khaled told reporters, adding " This is impossible."

The special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur on Saturday denied the allegations saying the minister of justice immediately after his return from Qatar ordered to probe the mass rape.

The official said they inspected the situation on the ground where “they verified the inaccuracy of what has been circulating in social media, and some of the local radio stations”.

He further indicated he contacted the state officials, adding “all confirmed that the area is free of complaints in this regard”.

Khaled also disclosed that the UNAMID has been authorised to probe the sexual assault charges, adding that they had been previously denied access because they did not seek to obtain a permission from the competent authorities before heading to Tabit.

“They are now heading to Tabit,” he told reporters at about 03:00pm local time.

He blamed the peacekeeping mission for issuing a communiqué based on unverified reports and before to conduct its own investigation.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to discuss the accusation of mass rape today after a briefing from the peacekeeping department on the alleged abuse.

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura and the British foreign minister, Philip Hammond said “concerned” by the accusations and called on the Sudanese government to allow the UNAMID to investigate the allegations of mass rape.

(ST)

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