Sudan: Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences

July 18, 2004

Sudan: Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences

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"At 7am in August 2003, our village was surrounded by the Janjawid; we heard machine guns and most of the people ran away, some were killed while trying to escape. My sister, M., aged 43, was captured by the military and the Janjawid. They tried to sleep with her. She resisted, I was present and could hear her: "I will not do something like this even if you kill me" and they immediately killed her. Other people were also present when this happened."

In other cases, the Janjawid have tortured women in order to force them to tell where their husbands were hiding. Forms of torture reportedly included: putting the face of women between two wooden sticks and pressing hard or pulling out the nails of women. F., aged around 50, from Kondilay – a place not far from Kabkabiya – was flogged by the attackers and had her fingers broken when they tried to pull her nails out. Pulling out of nails during interrogations was often mentioned by female refugees.

Some women also reported the Janjawid breaking the legs of victims of rape in order to prevent them from escaping. N., a 30-year-old woman from Um Baru, told Amnesty International delegates in the camp of Konoungou:

"The attack took place at 8am on 29 February 2004 when soldiers arrived by car, camels and horses. The Janjawid were inside the houses and the soldiers outside. Some 15 women and girls who had not fled quickly enough were raped in different huts in the village. The Janjawid broke the limbs (arms or legs) of some women and girls to prevent them from escaping. The Janjawid remained in the village for six or seven days. After the rapes, the Janjawid looted the houses."

She gave a list of names of the women who were raped during the attack.

Rape, abductions and sexual slavery

Women and girls have been abducted during attacks and forced to stay with the Janjawid in military camps or hideouts. Several testimonies collected by Amnesty International contain clear cases of sexual slavery; torture appears to have sometimes been used as a tactic to prevent women held as sexual slaves from escaping.

"They took K.M., who is 12 years old in the open air. Her father was killed by the Janjawid in Um Baru, the rest of the family ran away and she was captured by the Janjawid who were on horse back. More than six people used her as a wife; she stayed with the Janjawid and the military more than 10 days. K, another woman who is married, aged 18, ran away but was captured by the Janjawid who slept with her in the open place, all of them slept with her. She is still with them. A, a teacher, told me that they broke her leg after raping her."A., a 66- year-old farmer from Um Baru in the district of Kutum.

N., a 30-year-old woman from the village of Disa in the Masalit area of western Darfur, told Amnesty International delegates how she was abducted and subjected to gang rape after an attack by government forces and the Janjawid on her village. She and her 15-year-old sister fled when the attack happened but were caught by soldiers in uniforms. She refused to follow them, reportedly accusing them of having already killed children. The soldiers reportedly beat her up and she was taken away by force. She had to walk with them for three hours. She received no food for three days. She was taken to a place in the bush and beaten up and raped several times at night. She said that several groups of Arabs had taken away several groups of women. She gave a list of names of the women reportedly abducted.

K. from Kenyu, aged 15, was reportedly abducted on 15 January 2004 and raped by several men. She was later found with two serious wounds on her head and a crippled leg, apparently from blows inflicted on her knee. The wound on her leg was putrescent when she was found five days after her abduction; she had been abandoned by her abductors.

In the same camp two women, M., a 40-year-old woman and N., aged 17, both from the village of Kibbash in the region of Silaya reported to Amnesty International having been abducted and gang-raped by the Janjawid: