Rights Watch Accuses Sudan Soldiers of Darfur Mass Rape

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 (Reuters/NAN)

A United States based human rights group has accused Sudanese soldiers of raping more than 221 women and girls in Sudan’s Darfur region late last year.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Thursday that the mass rape took place during three days of attacks.
The group said 15 survivors, one female witness and 23 other credible sources had given it information of mass rapes committed betweenOct. 30 and Nov. 1 in the Darfur town of Tabit.
It said it had collected names and other information on 221 victims and the mass rape of women and girls in Tabit may amount to crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, Alswarmi Khalid, Sudanese Army Spokesman rejected the accusations as “absolutely wrong.
He described them as a bid to pressure Sudan to keep a 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.
“Some people are using these false accusations as pressure to keep UNAMID in Darfur,” he added.
Meanwhile, UN diplomats and officials said on condition of anonymity that authorities have made it impossible to investigate the incident.
They said under such condition UNAMID may never be able to confirm HRW’s findings.
They said rape was being used as a weapon of war in Darfur.
Aicha Elbasri, former UNAMID Spokeswoman, who accused the mission of deliberately under-reporting to UN headquarters and the Security Council on attacks against civilians and peacekeepers by government-aligned forces in Sudan, said UNAMID has a history of not reporting rapes.
She said there were series of documents of unreported rape incidents in 2012 and 2013, including the alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old pregnant girl.

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