Eric Reeves, 20 November 2011
In recent years there has been almost no reporting by news or human rights organizations on rape and gender-based violence (GBV) as a weapon of war, even as it has been one of the most brutal features of Khartoum’s counter-insurgency warfare. There are several excellent studies of the phenomenon, though none representing the last two years and more:
 A powerful study of sexual violence in Darfur was published in fall 2004 and deserves the closest attention. Written by Tara Gingerich, JD, MA and Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, “The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan” (October 2004) was prepared for the US Agency for International Development/OTI under the auspices of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights (available at: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/fxbcenter/ ).
 An extraordinary body of first-hand evidence appeared in a study by Doctors Without Border/Mdecins San Frontires (MSF)/Holland in March 2005 (“The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur,” MSF-Holland, March 2005, http://www.artsenzondergrenzen.nl/index.php?pid=338 ). The release of the report was the occasion for Khartoum’s arrest of the two senior MSF officials working in Sudan, and eventually was part of the decision to expel the organization, along with twelve others, in March 2009.
 The psychological, physical, and social destructiveness of rape as a weapon of war can scarcely be overstated. As deployed in Darfur, it is meant to destroy family structures within the non-Arab or African populations that have been overwhelmingly been the target of campaigns of rape. The best account of the devastation occasioned by rape in Darfur is a May 2009 study by Physicians for Human Rights, “Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women” (http://darfuriwomen.phrblog.org/nowhere-to-turn/ ). The effects of eight years of displacement by genocidal counter-insurgency warfare have left civilians suffering from a wide range of severe mental disorders, particularly the tens of thousands of girls and women who have been victims of rape. In its meticulously researched study, PHR chronicled in soul-destroying detail some of the devastation among Darfuri refugee girls and women in eastern Chad:
“Researchers asked women to rate their physical and mental health status in Darfur and now in Chad on a 1-5 scale with 1 being ‘very good’ and 5 being ‘poor.’ Women reported a marked deterioration in their physical health status since leaving Darfur, with an average ranking of 3.99 for health in Chad versus 2.06 for Darfur.”
Even more alarmingly,
“The study indicated a marked deterioration in self-reported mental health, where the average score in was 4.90. ‘I am sad every day (since leaving Darfur). I feel not well in my skin,’ explained one respondent. [ ] Women who experienced rape (confirmed or highly probable) were three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than were women who did not report sexual violence.”
Although Khartoum would never allow such a study to be conducted in Darfur, we should expect comparable results. Without further human rights observation and analysis, we are left to draw our conclusions on the basis of these excellent studies (http://www.sudanreeves.org/Sections-article509-p1.html ). Reports from the first few months of 2011 by Radio Dabanga certainly confirm that rape and GBV remain a prominent and unconstrained weapon of war. Particularly appalling are the rapes of girls, some as young as 8 years of age. The victims in the following incidents reported by Radio Dabanga are all from non-Arab or African tribal groups.
•6 Darfuri women raped by soldiers, 1 shot dead
Soldiers in Darfur killed one woman and raped six others. They opened fire on Mariam Isaag Adam, the 18-year-old mother of a baby girl, near Attash Camp in South Darfur on Friday. She died. They raped six other women, aged between 15 and 25 years and all residents of Attash Camp. A relative of the slain victim told Radio Dabanga that the seven women were on their way to collect palm fronds outside of the camp when they were ***assaulted by regular troops stationed near the camp***. Mariam Isaag Adam tried to escape. The soldiers shot her dead. The soldiers halted and raped the other women. (ATTASH CAMP, January 3, 2011)
•Militia troops assault 2 girls at Al Salaam Camp, Darfur
***Three soldiers belonging to the Border Guards severely beat two girls*** using sticks and batons at Al Salaam Camp in El Fasher yesterday. The two girls were transferred to the city hospital in critical condition. (EL FASHER, January 4, 2011)
•Adolescent girl kidnapped in North Darfur
A 13-year old girl was kidnapped Sunday in North Darfur. She was taken by an armed group from Koro Koli village in Seraf Omra area. One of her relatives said that the region is plagued by kidnappings including one reported recently by Radio Dabanga involving a businessman besides also ***murder and looting by armed men on camels***. Camps of conflict-displaced people are particularly affected by the violence. (SERAF OMRA, January 11, 2011)
•Six girls raped in Darfur
An armed group raped six girls between the ages of 14 to 20 years old in area Dorma near Tawila in North Darfur. Omda Atim, the coordinator of IDP camps in North Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that the girls went out last Thursday to collect firewood. They were accompanied by two men. ***A number of gunmen came on camels***. They attacked the men, tied them up and beat them severely. Then they raped the girls. (TAWILA, January 17, 2011)
•Woman raped and killed in West Darfur
An armed group killed a woman last Friday at Kandibei Camp in Sirba Locality in West Darfur. A relative of the victim told Radio Dabanga that woman was attacked by the armed group while she was on her way to cut firewood. She was found dead with three stab wounds on her abdomen after being raped and thrown into the bottom of a wadi (dry river). The relative noted that the murdered woman, Simeinj Yahia, was the 28-year old mother of two children. (SIRBA, January 25, 2011)
•Two girls raped by uniformed gunmen near Kutum, Darfur
A group of armed men raped two girls in Kutum Locality in North Darfur. One girl was 18 years old and the other was 21 years old, according to a relative of the girls. The source told Radio Dabanga that someone was accompanying the girls as they were on their way from their village of Diliba to the town of Kutum. ***They were intercepted by an armed group made up of more than 11 uniformed men***. The group severely beat the girls’ escort and then alternately raped them. The third person managed to escape despite attempts to shoot him. In another assault, an armed group shot a farmer, Ismail Mohamed Abdel Mola, near Rwanda displaced camp in Tawila. He was taken to the hospital in El Fasher for treatment. A relative of the injured man told Radio Dabanga that Ismail was shot while he was working in his farm near Tawila. The source added that doctors were able to extract several bullets from his stomach and back after an operation conducted in El Fasher on Wednesday. (KUTUM/TAWILA, February 5, 2011)
•Woman raped near Kutum; daughter escapes
Two herders last Wednesday raped a woman from Kurgi village, eight kilometers southeast of Kutum. The gunmen also attempted to rape the woman’s daughter, but she managed to escape by climbing up a tree. Sources told Radio Dabanga that the woman herself and her daughter were on their way from their farms to Kurgi when attacked by armed pastoralists.
Witnesses said that the girl managed to escape by climbing a tree, while her mother did not get away and was raped at gunpoint. Sources said the woman who was raped decided not to open a police case. The daughter was taken to receive medical treatment for cuts she suffered during her escape.
In a related incident near Kutum, a woman was shot dead when she resisted a pair of rapists. (KUTUM, February 7, 2011)
•Woman shot dead by rapists in North Darfur
A woman was killed by gunmen Saturday afternoon in Hilla Goz in the area of east Kutum. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the victim was Hassiniya Ibrahim Kuluk, a farmer, age 27, mother of four children including an infant son of five months. The killers were two armed herders. They arrived on camels and sought to rape her. The victim refused and said she would not comply even if it meant her death. Witnesses said the herders immediately shot her and left her to die. They left her baby under a tree. The witnesses said that village men took her to the hospital but she died en route. (KUTUM, February 7, 2011)
•2 Darfuri girls raped near Kutum and El Geneina
An armed group raped a girl at Kassab Camp last Tuesday. The girl, 18 years old, had been out collecting firewood. The same armed group on Wednesday also beat two men from the camp. People in the camp told Radio Dabanga that the armed group accosted the girl while she was on her way to collect firewood north of the camp. [ ]
Another case of rape was reported in El Geneina near Martyr Airport. A 16-year-old girl from Ardamata Displaced Camp was raped at gunpoint. She was later taken to the hospital in El Geneina after opening a police case at the Ardamata Police Department. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the girl was among four who went to the area near the airport to collect firewood. (KUTUM/EL GENEINA, February 13, 2011)
•17-year-old girl abducted by mounted gunmen
***Seven gunmen riding camels kidnapped a girl, 17 years old***, from the village of Torgo in Garsila Locality in West Darfur. A witness told Radio Dabanga that the gunmen abducted the girl at 6:00 last night while she was on her way to fetch a donkey near the village. The witnesses added that the gunmen took the girl southward from the village. (GARSILA, February 17, 2011)
•Three girls, aged 10, 12 and 15 raped by Darfur gunmen
An armed group last Wednesday in Garsila Locality raped three girls. A relative of one of the girls told Radio Dabanga that ***6 gunmen came on camels and raped two girls***. One of the victims is 10 years old and the other is 15 years old. They were on their way from their village to Targo, south of Garsila in West Darfur. In a separate incident, three gunmen who arrived on motorcycles raped a 12-year-old girl, in Wadi Galanja, east of Garsila. (GARSILA, March 7, 2011)
•Darfur woman raped by gunmen in Sirba, Darfur
An armed group on Saturday raped a woman, 25 years old, at Kandiba Camp in Sirba Locality. Three others were able to escape, according to a witness. The witness told Radio Dabanga that ***the gunmen were riding horses and camels when they attacked the four girls near the camp*** on Saturday. The victim was alternatingly raped by the gunmen. In another incident near the camp, gunmen robbed five people who were on their way to the camp with donkeys carrying flour. The victims were flogged with whips and treated at El Geneina hospital. (SIRBA, March 7, 2011)
•Gunmen in military uniforms rape two refugee girls in Darfur
***Gunmen dressed in military uniforms raped two girls from Hamidiya Camp*** for displaced people on Sunday. The camp is located outside of Zalingei town in West Darfur. One of the displaced people told Radio Dabanga that one of the victims is 12 years old. The girls had gone out of the camp to fetch firewood. The gunmen attacked them and took them to a remote place and then gang-raped them. (ZALINGEI, March 8, 2011)
•7 rape cases in Shagra and 1 in Garsila by uniformed Darfur militia
Armed men wearing uniforms and mounted on camels committed seven rapes in Shagra area, targeting displaced women who had gone out of their camps to harvest crops. Seven rape victims were from Abu Shouk Camp. Another girl was raped elsewhere in Darfur, in Garsila. A women’s rights activist in El Fasher told Radio Dabanga that a first incident occurred when camel herders attacked and raped women farm workers last Wednesday. The second incident occurred Friday, also in Shagra, when herders raped three women at night near the farms. According to the activist, the women were first severely beaten with sticks, then raped. Afterward they were taken to the hospital in El Fasher to receive treatment.
In Garsila Locality in West Darfur, an armed group on Sunday raped a 15-year old girl. A relative said that the ***perpetrators were gunmen who came on three camels and horses and were wearing military uniform***. They intercepted the girl as she was on her way to gather firewood. They raped her alternately and then slashed her ears (in order to mark her permanently as a rape victim). (SHAGRA/GARSILA, March 15, 2011)
•Rapes prevalent in Menawashi district of Darfur, residents say
The residents of the village of Amar Jadeed in Menawashi Locality in South Darfur complained of nighttime attacks on their wives and daughters by armed men. One villager told Radio Dabanga that ***elements of the border guards*** come nightly from their camp, which is located near the village, and rape women and girls. The ***attacks occur even within the homes of victims and sometimes while husbands and fathers are present and held at gunpoint***. The villager said that the attacks do not stop until 10:00 the following morning. (AMAR JADEED, March 15, 2011)
[Two reports from the closing days of 2010]
•Government troops rape 2 girls in Darfur camp, terrorize refugees
(TAWILA, December 28, 2010)
***Government forces stationed in the area of Rwanda camp in Tawila in North Darfur raped two girls, 15 and 19 years old***. Government forces stationed in the area of Rwanda camp in Tawila in North Darfur raped two girls, 15 and 19 years old. A witness said that the forces entered Rwanda camp on Saturday, firing heavily in the air, then began breaking into shops and looting. They wounded someone in the leg with gunfire and also killed a donkey. The witness said that the displaced heard there were 200 vehicles coming from Kebkabiya to the area and they fled for protection to UNAMID camp.
•Darfur woman shot dead fleeing rapists
***Four armed men on camels and wearing military uniforms shot dead a woman*** near Hassa Hissa Displaced Camp in Darfur. Khadija Abu, 45 years old, was shot dead on Saturday in area by Mount Kono near Zalingei. Witnesses said that about 11 woman from the camp had gone out that day to collect firewood and harvest crops. The ***witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the militants tried to rape the women***, but the women ran away, prompting the gunmen to open fire on them, causing the death of Khadija Abu. Other women fled and dispersed. (HASSA HISSA, December 21, 2011)