Some of them are as young as 12.. The high incidence of rape of women and girls in Sudan

Amid mounting international warnings of the many violations against civilians in Sudan, humanitarian and international organizations and relief officials revealed that the conflict between the two armed parties in Sudan has caused Increasing cases of rape of women and girlssome as young as 12 years old, and kidnapped.

Save the Children said in a statement on Friday that armed fighters were sexually assaulting and raping teenage girls in “alarming numbers,” while the United Nations reported a “noticeable increase” in gender-based violence.

Only 2% of the total number

And at a time when dozens of rape cases have been confirmed as a result of the conflict that broke out between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces on April 15, the Sudanese government’s Unit for Combating Violence against Women estimates that the numbers may represent only 2% of the total number.

“We know that the official numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Girls as young as 12 are being targeted because of their gender, ethnicity or vulnerability,” Arif Nur, Save the Children’s country director in Sudan, said in a statement.

Nour added that some parents marry off their daughters at a young age in an attempt to protect them from attacks.

There were also reports of girls being held for days and sexually assaulted, and of cases of gang rape of women and girls.

Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum (AFP)

Accusation of the Rapid Support Forces

“Health care providers, social workers, counsellors and community-based protection networks within Sudan have warned of a marked increase in reports of gender-based violence as hostilities continue across the country,” UN agencies said in a joint statement this week.

The organizations added, “Reporting violations and obtaining support has become difficult, if not impossible, due to the outages of electricity and communications networks, in addition to the inability to reach humanitarian aid due to the instability of the security situation.”

The Unit for Combating Violence against Women also reported that cases of kidnapping of women and girls had risen sharply, especially in Khartoum, and indicated that there had been several recent incidents in which it accused RSF fighters of being involved.

A vehicle of the Rapid Support Forces in southern Khartoum - AFP

A vehicle of the Rapid Support Forces in southern Khartoum – AFP

Pregnancy as a result of rape

The Rapid Support Forces did not respond directly to accusations that its fighters committed crimes of sexual violence, but said that those who commit such violations will be held accountable for their actions.

The United Nations estimates that 4.2 million people are at risk of gender-based violence, up from 3 million before the conflict began in mid-April. The population of Sudan is 49 million people.

The United Nations said the danger increased sharply as women and girls moved in search of safe places.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Some women arrive pregnant as a result of rape.

More than 2.9 million people have been displaced from their homes by the war, and some 700,000 of them have fled to neighboring countries.

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