Political Reports

CNN to broadcast RSF atrocities

News report – Sudan Events – Talal Mudathir 

They told my father: “We will rape your daughter in front of you.”

A documentary film broadcast on Sunday by the American CNN network, via the “The Complete Story with Anderson Cooper” program, reveals a campaign led by Rapid Support militia forces to enslave men and women in the city of El Genaina – the capital of West Darfur state in western Sudan.

A CNN team in the Chadian refugee camp of Adre, across the border from El Genaina, spoke to more than a dozen witnesses who described mass kidnappings of people where women were forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for food and water, both men and women, while others revealed that women were being trafficked by their kidnappers. Their accounts shed more light on the violence that has occurred in the genocide-torn western Sudan region over the past five months.

Northern females in captivation

A man named “Khaled” said in the documentary that he saw fighters wearing Rapid Support uniforms accompanying more than a dozen women in handcuffs to El Genaina Industrial School, where he worked as a teacher.

Speaking to CNN, Khaled said he watched the scene unfold from his hiding place behind a pile of chopped wood in the school compound, “They flogged them with the whips they use on animals while the girls were screaming.” He said.

He did not come out of hiding until nightfall. Throughout the day, he said he saw fighters forcing women into classrooms at gunpoint, and afterward he said he heard voices indicating torture and rape.

He added that many of the women appear to have been trafficked from the far northern Sudan – where a woman’s style of dress can show relative wealth, and where tribal and ethnic mix is evident in generally lighter skin.

“They told my father, ‘We will rape your daughter in front of you,’ and other horrific testimonies of survivors of the clutches of ethnic cleansing, slavery, and rapes practiced by the Janjaweed militia and mercenaries in Darfur.” Said one of the survivors.

Human rights convictions

Several Sudan-based rights groups, including the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) and the government’s Violence Against Women Unit, told CNN they believe the RSF kidnapped dozens of women from the capital, Khartoum, and trafficked them to the strongholds of the Rapid Support Forces in Darfur

Human rights activists say they spoke to dozens of local sources who said the women appeared to have been sexually exploited by the Rapid Support Forces.

Horrific stories

One of the former kidnappers from Darfur – whose name was not mentioned by CNN – said that she saw a four-wheel-drive car entering an Arab neighborhood in El Genaina, carrying in the back four women who appeared to be from northern Sudan.

She said she saw one of the RSF fighters approach the driver and ask him how much he wanted to “sell” the women for.

She recalled hearing the driver bragging that he “chose the women himself” and that “no amount of money” would make him hand them over to RSF fighters.

And to us you are all slaves

In Darfur, captive women from non-Arab tribes appear to be treated differently – the apparent sexual exploitation of women tends to lead to shorter captivity periods, and dozens of witnesses, survivors, and activists have reported that their abuse is fueled along racial lines.

The network added that the Rapid Support Forces, a largely Arab fighting force, are accused of ethnic cleansing of non-Arab tribes in Darfur, and are widely known as the perpetrator of widespread sexual exploitation there.

The RSF did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the sexual slavery allegations.

Another slave

Mahdi, 16, was blindfolded when a strange man felt his bicep. He was looking for a “strong” boy to use as a farm laborer.

The size of his muscles helped the man determine the price of the Mahdi, as he bought him from a militiaman who captured him in El Genaina, the capital of West Darfur.

“They beat me and called me a slave

“They kept beating me,” Mahdi said of his captors and other unidentified men. “I was sitting on the ground and they were hitting me on the neck.”

His harrowing testimony was among dozens – including accounts from women who claimed sexual slavery – collected as part of an exclusive CNN documentary to be broadcast on Sunday.

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