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Slavery and gang rape in the midst of war in Sudan

Sudan, plunged for 18 months into insecurity since the overthrow of the government by soldiers and paramilitaries.

• Read also: 32 dead in attacks in disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan

• Read also: “Extreme violence” against civilians: UN calls for humanitarian access to Sudan

• Read also: Sudan: corpses in the streets in Omdurman, violent fighting in Darfur

An inter-factional war broke out and in recent weeks, RSF paramilitaries made their second significant advance in West Darfur state, killing more than 700 people in several days north of the provincial capital, El Geneina.

Journalist Nima Elbagir and her team traveled to neighboring Chad a few months ago for CNN’s “The Whole Story” documentary segment.

It was there that she met men and women who described the horrors they experienced, which, for some, amount to genocide.

It is to Chad that thousands of people have fled.

People interviewed by CNN described scenes of inhuman horror, including systematic rape and even slavery implemented by paramilitaries in order to control Darfur.

Disturbing images

The images, particularly posted on social networks, are disturbing.

We see the paramilitaries, RSF soldiers, gathering men, putting them in groups, beating and humiliating them.

“Come on (n-word) let’s go. Spray them.”

CNN was able to geotag the videos, placing them in an outlying district of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, where some of the worst atrocities of the recent war took place.

screenshot | CNN

Over the past year, paramilitaries have targeted members of African tribal groups, including the Masalait, who claim Darfur as their ancestral home.

The paramilitaries tend to belong to tribes that are of Arab descent.

Video shows dead and alive men placed in mass graves. We also see a man, probably reduced to slavery, throwing dirt on another even though he is still alive.

In another refugee camp, the CNN journalist meets women who describe the horrors of the rapes they have suffered.

Shocking testimonies

Several testified on camera.

“In our family, we lost more than forty men,” said one man.

A woman recounts the violence she suffered.

“They told my father “we are going to rape your daughter in front of you. The RSF said: “leave those”. We will find better ones to sell. These, let’s fiddle with them,” says another survivor.


CNN interviewed more than a dozen survivors and eyewitnesses where civilians were targeted and women were sold into slave houses.

screenshot | CNN

“There were RSF soldiers outside. They beat me until they forced me into the building. Inside I saw nine or ten girls, some without clothes. They told us they would sell us very cheaply. They said they would be the only ones to sleep with us, because if we have our own children, our sons will take revenge one day.”

A young woman managed to escape, but was recaptured and taken to another location where she was raped several times.

Male slaves

Mahdi, who was only 16 years old, was kidnapped by the RSF with his brother and forced to work on a farm.

“We were eight people. We were all attached. They would come and say “I want strong boys”. Someone came and started feeling my arms. I was tied up and blindfolded.”

“I didn’t see anything. Then I heard them say “I will buy it from you, I will give you money”.

“They hit me and said (the N-word).” They said, “Where did we find that (the N-word)?” They kept hitting me.

Mahdi doesn’t know how much they bought him, but he was eventually taken to another place where he was forced to work.

His brother who was also kidnapped was killed.

***See the full report in the video above. ***

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