Sudanese women suffer sexual violence on ‘sickening scale’ –...

Sexual violence is being committed in Sudan on a “sickening scale,” while fighting in the Darfur region is reopening “old wounds of ethnic tension” that could engulf the country, United Nations officials told the Security Council on Wednesday.

Senior U.N. aid official Edem Wosornu states: “The alarming accounts of sexual violence that are heard from people who have fled to Port Sudan are just a fraction of those being repeated at a sickening scale from conflict hotspots across the country.”

War started on April 15 – four years after the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir during a popular uprising. Tensions between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which jointly took control in 2021, erupted over disputes about a plan to transition to civilian rule.

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, a senior U.N. official on Africa, told the council: “The fighting in Darfur continues to reopen the old wounds of ethnic tension of past conflicts in the region. This is deeply worrying, and could quickly engulf the country in a prolonged ethnic conflict with regional spillovers.”

The present conflict caused over 4 million individuals to abandon their residences. Approximately 3.28 million have become internally displaced, while over 900,000 have sought refuge across the borders in nations such as Chad, Egypt, South Sudan, and others.

Anna Evstigneeva, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador said Moscow was concerned by Sudan’s state and pledged support for the Sudanese authorities. She accused Western countries of meddling in Sudan’s internal political process and criticized the use of unilateral sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the council meeting that both sides were responsible for ethnic and sexual violence, adding: “There are no innocents here.”

Reacting to a call for a statement, the RSF asserted that accusations of sexual assault by their units were being propagated by backers of Bashir’s administration aligned with the army.

The RSF conveyed its willingness to collaborate with any impartial inquiry focused on these allegations, as well as on assertions of misconduct involving civilians in Darfur, as stated by the group’s media office.

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