Doctors believe that paramilitaries carried out more than 70 rapes during an attack on a protest camp in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, a week ago.
More than 100 people were killed and as many as 700 injured in the attack last Monday on a sit-in and clashes afterwards, as paramilitaries from the Rapid Support Forces spread through the city to quell sporadic unrest.
Shocking details of rapes by the RSF have emerged in recent days despite restrictions on communications in Sudan, but the extent of the sexual violence has remained unknown. One doctor with access to data compiled by the central committee of doctors, a pro-reform group, said hospitals in Khartoum had recorded more than 70 cases of rape in the attack and its immediate aftermath.
A doctor at the Royal Care hospital said it had treated eight victims of rape five women and three men. At a second hospital in the south of Khartoum, a medical source said it had received two rape cases, including one who was attacked by four RSF paramilitaries.
Several witnesses have also described similar cases on social media. Many victims have not sought medical treatment, either because of fear of reprisals, insecurity in the city, or because care has been limited. Human rights activists and experts have described the reports of sexual violence as reliable.
The crisis in Sudan continued on Monday with the second day of a general strike aimed at relaunching an opposition movement battered by a brutal crackdown, and forcing the country’s military leaders to resign. Shops were closed and streets were empty throughout Khartoum and in the neighbouring city of Omdurman, though there was visibly more traffic in the streets than on Sunday, when the strike began.
Four protesters were killed in sporadic violence in the two cities over the weekend. A top US diplomat will head to the country this week to urge an end to the crackdown. Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, plans to meet both members of the military leadership and protest leaders in Khartoum.