UN official calls for inquiry into Darfur rape claims


KHARTOUM – A United Nations (UN) official on Sunday asked the government of Sudan to launch an inquiry into alleged mass rape in the troubled western Darfur region at the hands of government troops in November of last year.

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Tashida Manjoo, said the inquiry should include national Sudanese figures as well as international figures to investigate the mass rape allegations in different parts of the troubled region.

She added at a press briefing in Khartoum at the end of a 12-day visit to Sudan that it was difficult for her to either investigate or document any information about the Darfur mass rape claims during her visit.

She attributed this to the security situation in the region as well as the fear of the residents of the region to speak out.

In November of 2014, the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) in Darfur  claimed that Sudanese authorities had prevented its personnel from entering a village in Darfur to investigate claims about the rape of up to 200 village women by Sudanese government troops.

Later in the same month, the Sudanese government protested the way the mission handled the rape claims in the village.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry also said that it had notified the mission that it was preparing an exit strategy for it against the background of the claims.

Darfur has been the scene of a ferocious war between the Sudanese government and three rebel movements since 2003.

The war has left 300,000 people dead and displaced around 2.5 million others so far, according to UN figures.

The Darfur conflict prompted in 2009 an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court on a number of charges, including genocide committed by government forces and allied militias.