UN Investigators Probing S*xual Slavery In Sudan Detention Facilities

A new UN fact-finding team probing atrocities in Sudan’s deadly civil conflict said Tuesday it was looking into accusations of s*xual enslavement in detention institutions and ethnic-based attacks on civilians.

For more than a year, the regular military, commanded by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has been at war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

According to mission director Mohammed Chande Othman, the recently-established UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission has “received credible reports of many cases of s*xual violence being committed by the warring factions” in Geneva.

“Women and girls have been, and continue to be subjected to rape and gang rape, abduction and forced marriage,” he said.

The team, he said, was looking into “reports of s*xual slavery and s*xualised torture in detention facilities, including against men and boys”.

“We are investigating.”

The conflict, which began in April 2023 has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and displaced more than nine million people, according to the UN.

The fact-finding mission was created by the council six months later to investigate alleged abuses in the conflict.

But the core team was not appointed until December, and a UN liquidity crisis and hiring freeze “led to several months of delay”, Othman acknowledged.

The team has nonetheless begun its work, and has so far among other things conducted around 80 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses.

“We are deeply concerned that the fighting persists with tragic consequences and enormous suffering of the civilian population,” Othman said.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes including deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid, despite warnings that millions are on the brink of starvation.

Othman also highlighted reports of widespread recruitment of children, including to take part in “direct combat and commit violent crimes”.

He said the team was particularly concerned about harsh fighting and an RSF siege around Sudan’s El-Fasher, the last city in Darfur outside the paramilitary’s control.

“Previous attacks on other areas compound our concerns,” he said, adding that the team was “currently investigating earlier large-scale attacks against civilians based on their ethnicity in other areas of Darfur”.

Those attacks had included “killings, rape and other forms of s*xual violence, torture, forced displacement and looting”, he said.

Othman said “ethnic-based attacks” elsewhere were also being investigated, including in other parts of Darfur, in Al Jazirah parts of greater Khartoum.

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