Africa News Bulletin

Sudan: Gang rape of young woman leads to fresh protests

A Sudanese government official on Tuesday alleged that security forces attempted to rape a young woman during a protest against military rule in central Khartoum, prompting calls for renewed demonstrations.

Sulaima Ishaq, who heads Sudan’s Violence against Women Unit at the Ministry of Social Development, said the woman, who was not a protester, was in a commercial bus when forces stationed near the march route fired tear gas, causing passengers to disembark.

The woman was then allegedly assaulted by several members of the security forces, Ishaq told reporters, but would not give full details.

The police are yet to respond to this allegation.

United Nations report in December last year suggested that there were 13 allegations of rape and gang-rape following a December 19 attempted sit-in, which was dispersed in central Khartoum.

Protests rejecting an Oct. 25 military coup, organised by neighbourhood-based committees, have rocked Sudan for several months.

Following reports of the assault, committees in the cities of Khartoum, Bahri, and Omdurman announced a spontaneous march towards the country’s presidential palace, carrying placards with inscriptions such as; “Wars are not fought on women’s bodies.”

The incident came as the U.N. and several countries have been critical of security crackdowns, which have killed at least 87 people since October.

At least 133 protesters were injured on Monday, including 35 by shotgun pellets, doctors aligned with the protest movement said.

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