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Survivors' Tales Emerge from Bahri and Khartoum Amid Sudan Conflict


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The audible tremor in the voice of a female doctor amidst Sudan's war-torn condition is evident. She sends a message to the BBC Arabic via WhatsApp.


This is aimed at a specific radio broadcast named Li Sudan Salam. The title represents both a salutation to Sudan and a wish for its peace.

The broadcast was initiated post the violent conflict that broke out between the national military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group on April 15th.

The upheaval has led to the death of countless individuals, with over a million being displaced nationwide.

Disturbing accounts of women and young girls being subjected to sexual assault during the turmoil have inundated the radio broadcast.

The exact figures of those affected are challenging to ascertain, yet medical practitioners are apprehensive about the numerous unreported incidents.

"We managed to communicate with three rape survivors and are extending medical support. But there are two others we are yet to establish contact with," a physician from one of the few functioning hospitals in Bahri, a part of Greater Khartoum, reported.

"Our hands are tied; we had to act. We are striving to send these cases to the obstetrics department for medical evaluations. However, the unavailability of medications in Bahri is a concern."

Salima Is'haq, leading a government sector against gender violence in Sudan, mentioned that the majority of these incidents are reported from Bahri, witnessing some of the worst conflict.

"The victims reaching out to us are mostly girls aged between 12 to 18 years," she shares, her voice reflecting desperation.

"The cases reported, however, are a mere fraction of the actual incidents. We may have only come across 2% of the total."

As the government structures crumble, Ms. Is'haq strives to make a difference.

She orchestrates the provision of health care and mental support to survivors through charities and volunteers. However, many survivors maintain a distance.

"The situation in Khartoum is challenging and disorganized. We are now focusing on spreading awareness about reporting abuse incidents and seeking help," she adds.

This initiative represents a pursuit of accountability and justice during the war.

Adding to the difficulty, frequent internet outages and consistent power failures occur.

Only six hospitals remain operational out of 88 in Khartoum.

Several communications to the radio broadcast emphasize the plight of kidney disease patients needing routine dialysis but unable to receive treatment.

"Medications are scarce. My sick brother couldn't get his," shares Najlaa.

"I was fortunate to meet a patient with the same condition, who shared some of his medication. We are in desperate need of help for essential treatment provision."

For daily wage earners, the situation is equally dire.

"We managed with little money earlier, but not anymore. Work opportunities are scarce. I live with my children, mother, and siblings, and I have exhausted my savings," Mubarak reveals.

While neighbors share whatever little food they have, surviving each day is an escalating challenge.

Amidst the tragedy, the communal spirit during these dark times motivates the team behind the radio broadcast.

"The trust the Sudanese people have placed in BBC Arabic radio deeply resonates with me," shares Mays Baqi, a producer for the show. "Even though communication is challenging, many Sudanese confide in us because they believe we will genuinely listen and share their stories."





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