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AU-UN Hybrid Agency says no evidence of mass rape of 200 women, girls in Darfur


NEW YORK – The African Union–UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) says its team found no evidence confirming the claims regarding the purported mass rape of 200 women and girls in Tabit, located 45 kilometres South-West of El Fasher in North Darfur, Sudan.

This is contained in a statement issued on Monday in New York by UNAMID.

UNAMID stated that after receiving access, its verification team which included representatives from police, military and civilian components, spent several hours on Sunday touring Tabit village in Sudan.

It added that the team interviewed a range of residents to ascertain the veracity of media reports that alleged mass rapes.

Tabit residents interviewed by UNAMID, it added, included community leaders, ordinary men and women, teachers and students.

UNAMID said “none of those interviewed confirmed that any incident of rape took place in Tabit.

“The team neither found any evidence nor received any information regarding media allegations during the period in question.’’

It added that village community leaders reiterated to UNAMID that they “coexist peacefully’’ with local military authorities in the area.

The team also interviewed the local Sudanese Armed Forces Commander.

In the statement, UNAMID said, it intends to conduct further follow-up actions on the matter, including possible additional investigations and patrols, in coordination with relevant host authorities and in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement between the Government of Sudan and UNAMID.

It would be recalled that on Nov. 5, UNAMID expressed deep concern about the allegation of mass rapes in Tabit, declaring that it would conduct thorough investigation into the veracity of the claim.

Meanwhile, tensions have been simmering across Darfur over the past few months.

In October, an attack on UNAMID peacekeepers by armed militants claimed the lives of three peacekeepers.

The UN estimates that some 385,000 people have been displaced by the conflict between the Government of Sudan and armed movements in Darfur since the start of 2014.
The world body had repeatedly called on all sides to join negotiations aimed at achieving a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace for the people of Darfur, which witnessed fighting since 2003.

UNAMID, formally established in 2007, was mandated to protect civilians, support humanitarian assistance, monitor and verify the implementation of agreements.

It was also to contribute to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and assist in political reconciliation following the 2003 civil war between the Government of Sudan and militias and other armed rebel groups. (NAN)

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