Mass Rape Of 200 Women In North Darfur: Military Commander Issues Apology

Details of a horrific mass rape of more than 200 women in a small of North Darfur, Sudan, emerges earlier this week. The small village of Tabit was invaded by Sudanese soldiers belonging to a military garrison south of El Fasher in North Darfur.

Majority of the victims of the mass rape were young women. According to the residents of Tabit, the horrendous mass rape lasted from Friday evening to early hours of Saturday morning.

The Sudanese soldiers invaded the village on Friday morning, claiming that one of their soldiers went missing on Thursday evening. He gave the villagers until sunset to retrieve the missing soldier. The soldiers then proceeded to beat and humiliated the men in Tabit.

One of the village elders reported an eyewitness account of the mass rape to Radio Dabanga.

“We were caught by surprise when soldiers surrounded Tabit at 8 pm. They beat the people with rifle butts and chased all of the men outside the village. Then they started to rape about 200 women and girls, which lasted from Friday evening until 4 am on Saturday.”

Amazingly, the commander of the soldiers who carried out the horrific rape has since taken responsibility for the mass rape, and has issued an apology. According toRadio Dabanga, one of the Sheiks in Tabit spoke of the commander’s visit after the mass rape in the village.

“The commander acknowledged that his forces ‘committed a mistake’ against Tabit. On Friday morning, the commander had summoned the villagers to retrieve the soldier. Hours later, the camp was surrounded and attacked by members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).”

The village refused the commander’s apologies and his advance to record the names of the rape victims and the wounded, and to bring them to a military hospital.

“We refused his apology,” the Sheikh told Radio Dabanga, “and demand the formation of an independent investigation into the crime, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

He stressed that until now, no Sudanese authorities or Unamid forces have arrived to the area.

While many international stories are focused on the Ebola crisis in West Africa and atrocities of the Islamic State, many have since forgotten of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan between the government and opposition forces.

Should the mass rape in North Darfur be given more attention in the international press?