UM RAWABA / MERSHING / KHARTOUM – July 15, 2023
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been accused of killing civilians and raiding markets in North Kordofan, conducting robberies in South Darfur, and perpetrating sexual violence throughout Sudan.
Two people were killed, and others were wounded in attacks and raids by RSF on Um Rawaba in the southern part of North Kordofan over the weekend.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that RSF soldiers attacked the town on Saturday. Resident Fattah Abbas was killed. Two of his sisters were injured and were taken to the Um Rawaba Hospital.
The following day, an RSF force in six four-wheel drive vehicles bearing licence plates of the Sudan Armed Forces entered Um Rawaba and raided the main market. The attack led to the death of Feisa Atta, a mechanic. Several other people were injured.
The witnesses explained that the attacking force plundered the market between 12:00 and 17:00 and robbed the shop owners and customers of their money and belongings at gunpoint. They also stole four vehicles.
Yesterday afternoon, the market was closed following rumours of a possible new RSF attack. People blocked the streets with barricades to prevent RSF paramilitaries from entering the neighbourhoods.
Activists in Um Rawaba reported that the death toll among civilians in the town, at the hands of the RSF, since the outbreak of war is now more than 10 people.
The RSF have previously been accused of raids, robberies, looting, and sexual violence in Kordofan.
People living in Mershing in South Darfur complain of robberies by elements affiliated with the RSF in the area.
A merchant from Mershing told Radio Dabanga that a group of RSF soldiers besieged his house on Thursday and told him at gunpoint to hand over his money.
He said that armed robberies continue in the area, “especially since an RSF unit was stationed nearby”.
Seleima Ishag, head of the Combating Violence Against Women Unit at the Sudanese Ministry of Social Affairs, said that the unit documented 108 cases of sexual violence against women and girls in Khartoum, South Darfur capital Nyala, and West Darfur capital El Geneina since the outbreak of the war on April 15.
She told Radio Dabanga that the unit monitored 56 documented cases of sexual violence in Khartoum, 31 cases in Nyala, and 21 cases in El Geneina.
In most cases, victims said that the perpetrators were members of the RSF.
The cases of sexual violence are likely to be much higher than those documented, and the figures recorded do therefore not represent the severity of the real situation, the unit warned.
Ishag also expressed grave concern at the increasing cases of abduction and enforced disappearance of women and girls. She said that the unit is continuing its investigations into alleged slave markets in North Darfur.
Deputy Chairperson of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) Nafisa Hajar, also told Radio Dabanga that there have been 15 confirmed cases of rape of women in El Shajara in western Khartoum. 12 of them were South Sudanese refugees. They also recorded more than 20 cases of harassment in the area.
She further reported that army soldiers control the western part of El Shajara and RSF paramilitaries control the eastern part. “The residents of the neighbourhood are trapped inside their homes, staying away from doors and windows, as 24 hours a day, the soldiers randomly fire bullets into the air, while snipers are firing on people who leave their homes.”
The DBA recently warned of “frequent reports” that women and girls abducted in war-affected areas, including Khartoum, are sold at markets in the areas of El Fasher, Mellit, and Malha, but that they could not confirm this.