Sudanese decry sexual attacks during protests

Khartoum (AFP) – Over a thousand Sudanese rallied Thursday decrying sexual attacks, after the UN said at least 13 women and girls were raped during recent mass protests against the army.


"Rape will not stop us", the crowd chanted at protests in the capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman.

"The women of Sudan are stronger", they added.

Several Western nations including the United States and the European Union issued a joint statement Thursday condemning the use of sexual violence "as a weapon to drive women away from demonstrations and silence their voices".

The statement, also signed by Britain, Canada, Norway and Switzerland, called on Khartoum to "carry out a full and independent investigation".

The UN said its had "received allegations that 13 women and girls were victims of rape or gang rape" during protests on Sunday, Liz Throssell, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson said Monday.

Security forces fired tear gas and live bullets Sunday as they cracked down on hundreds of thousands who were marching against military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who led a coup on October 25.

Sunday also marked three years since the start of mass demonstrations that led to the ouster of veteran strongman Omar al-Bashir.

The UN said it had also "received allegations of sexual harassment by security forces against women who were trying to flee" the area around the presidential palace in Khartoum on Sunday evening.

Two people died during protests on Sunday, taking the toll to at least 47 of those killed in street clashes since the military power grab, according to the independent Doctors' Committee.

After the generals seized power on October 25, they detained civilian leader Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok for weeks under effective house arrest -- but reinstated him on November 21 under a deal promising elections for July 2023.

But the move alienated many of Hamdok's pro-democracy supporters, who dismissed it as providing a cloak of legitimacy for Burhan.