Doctors believe that paramilitaries carried out more than 70 rapes during an attack on a protest camp in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, a week ago.
More than 100 people were killed and as many as 700 injured in the attack last Monday on a sit-in and clashes afterwards, as paramilitaries from the Rapid Support Forces spread through the city to quell sporadic unrest.
Shocking details of rapes by the RSF have emerged in recent days despite restrictions on communications in Sudan, but the extent of the sexual violence has remained unknown. One doctor with access to data compiled by the central committee of doctors, a pro-reform group, said hospitals in Khartoum had recorded more than 70 cases of rape in the attack and its immediate aftermath.
A doctor at the Royal Care hospital said it had treated eight victims of rape five women and three men. At a second hospital in the south of Khartoum, a medical source said it had received two rape cases, including one who was attacked by four RSF paramilitaries.
Several witnesses have also described similar cases on social media. Many victims have not sought medical treatment, either because of fear of reprisals, insecurity in the city, or because care has been limited. Human rights activists and experts have described the reports of sexual violence as reliable.
The crisis in Sudan continued on Monday with the second day of a general strike aimed at relaunching an opposition movement battered by a brutal crackdown, and forcing the country’s military leaders to resign. Shops were closed and streets were empty throughout Khartoum and in the neighbouring city of Omdurman, though there was visibly more traffic in the streets than on Sunday, when the strike began.
Caster Semenya says she will not defend her World Championship 800m title in September after a setback in her challenge to the restricting of testosterone levels in female runners.
But the South African said she would “continue her fight for human rights” despite her “disappointment”.
Semenya has twice appealed against IAAF rules preventing her from running without medication.
But a ruling allowing her to compete has now been overturned.
Semenya is challenging world governing body the IAAF’s new rules that she and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) must either take testosterone-reducing medication in order to compete in track events from 400m to the mile or change to another distance.
Semenya had been able to race while awaiting the decision of a Swiss court, having previously lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in May.
The latest ruling by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court means she will not be allowed to compete at the World Championships in Doha.
“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title,” Semenya, 28, said.
“But this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned.”
The IAAF said it wanted the suspension of the rules to be reversed to avoid “serious confusion” among athletes and event organisers and “to protect the integrity of the sport”.
It rejected the accusation in the letter that its regulations “enforce gender inequality”, saying in response that the rule was introduced “precisely because the IAAF is committed to protecting the rights and opportunities of female athletes”.
In May, Semenya filed an appeal to the court after failing to have new IAAF rules overturned by Cas.