Protests have broken out in Sudan after a 19-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by security forces involved in dispersing anti-government protesters.
The woman, who chose not to be identified, said she had been traveling home on a bus in the capital, Khartoum, last Monday Mar. 14, when police officers stopped the vehicle to look for people involved in the day’s protests.
She said when the people on the bus told the officers they hadn’t participated, the forces attacked the bus with tear gas, forcing people to run off the minibus.
“There were two other women who managed to get away but with me, they dragged me underneath a bridge and removed all of my clothes,” she said. “There were about eight men around me and I kept on screaming to them ‘let me go,’ but they said ‘no’ and they hit me.”
“I was crying and telling them to leave me alone, I am like a sister to you. But they said you are no sister to us, slapped me on the face and hit me with a stick,” she told Reuters.
The head of Sudan’s Violence Against Women Unit at the Ministry of Social Development said the woman, who was not a protester, was then raped by two members of the forces and assaulted by others, according to Reuters.
Witnesses also told Reuters they saw the forces attacking the woman from nearby buildings.
The woman was then saved by protesters, who took her to a nearby hospital, according to the government official.
Police are investigating the incident and have not responded to requests for comment, according to the Guardian.
The next day, hundreds of women took to the streets in Khartoum and other cities to protest the incident, holding signs and chanting “women should live safely.”
This incident is the latest in a reported string of attacks of women by security forces. In December, the United Nations said it had received 13 allegations of rape and gang-rape after an attempted sit-in in Khartoum was dispersed by security forces.
At least 87 people have died in anti-government protests that began in October after the military seized power in a coup.