‘Alarming’ increase in sexual assault and abduction in Sudan war: Save the Children News
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‘Alarming’ increase in sexual assault and abduction in Sudan war: Save the Children

Save the Children called attention Friday to an “alarming” wave of rape and abduction in Sudan targeting women and girls as young as 12, as the conflict in the country continues to escalate. The United Nations has also reported a marked increase in gender-based violence, exposing the dark reality of the war that erupted on April 15.

Save the Children’s Sudan director Arif Noor emphasized the vulnerability of children targeted for their gender and ethnicity, saying that, “sexual violence continues to be used as a tool to terrorize women and children in Sudan.” Desperate parents have resorted to marrying off their daughters to shield them from further harm. Disturbing reports reveal prolonged captivity, where girls endure sexual assault, and women and girls face gang rape. The lack of electricity, connectivity, and humanitarian access further obstructs reporting and assistance.

The UN estimates that 4.2 million people now face the risk of gender-based violence, up from 3 million before the conflict’s onset. The peril escalates when women and girls migrate in search of safety. Over 2.9 million people have been displaced, with almost 700,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Heartbreakingly, the UN refugee agency reports cases of women arriving pregnant as a result of rape. The CVAW (Combating Violence Against Women) group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union also documented an upsurge in abductions in addition to the increase in sexual violence, with paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighters implicated in recent cases.

The current conflict in Sudan involves Sudan’s army and the RSF, who clashed over the transition to civilian rule. Concentrated in Khartoum and Darfur, the fighting has resulted in verified cases of rape, yet the official figures capture just a fraction of the rampant abuse. Aid officials stress the urgent need to address this crisis and protect vulnerable populations..