"We always seem to get sweeping generalizations, without naming the injured,
without naming the offenders," he told reporters.
In Kalma, collecting firewood needed to cook meals is becoming more perilous
as the trees around the camp dwindle and women are forced to scavenge ever
farther afield. It is strictly a woman's task, dictated both by tradition and
the fear that any male escorts would be killed if the janjaweed found them.
Agreeing to tell the AP their story earlier this month through a translator,
the seven women's voices wavered and hesitated, broken by embarrassed silences.
All gave their names and agreed to be identified in full, but the AP is
withholding their surnames because they are rape victims and vulnerable to
The women said they set out on a Monday morning last July and had barely
begun collecting the wood when 10 Arabs on camels surrounded them, shouting
insults and shooting their rifles in the air.
The women first attempted to flee. "But I didn't even try, because I couldn't
run," being seven months pregnant, said Aisha, a petite 18-year-old whose raspy
voice sounds more like that of an old woman.
She said four men stayed behind to flay her with sticks, while the other
janjaweed chased down the rest of her group.
"We didn't get very far," said Maryam, displaying the scar of a bullet that
hit her on the right knee.
Once rounded up, the women said, they were beaten and their rented donkey
killed. Zahya, 30, had brought her 18-year-old daughter, Fatmya, and her baby.
The baby was thrown to the ground and both women were raped. The baby survived.
Zahya said the women were lined up and assaulted side by side, and she saw
four men taking turns raping Aisha.
The women said the attackers then stripped them naked and jeered at them as
they fled. On their way back, men from the refugee camp unraveled their cotton
turbans for the women to partly cover up, but the victims said they were laughed
at when they entered the refugee camp.
"Ever since, I've made sure that women living on the outskirts of the camp
have spare sets of clothes to give out," said Khadidja Abdallah, a sheika, an
informal camp leader, who took the women to the international aid compound at
the camp to be treated.
They were given anti-pregnancy and anti- HIV pills, thanks to which their
families haven't entirely ostracized them, the women said. The baby Aisha was
expecting at the time is doing well. His name is Osman.
Sheikas in Kalma said they report over a dozen rapes each week. Human rights
activists in South Darfur who monitor violence in the refugee camps estimate
more than 100 women are raped each month in and around Kalma alone.
The workers warn of an alarming new trend of rapes within the refugee
population amid the boredom and slow social decay of the camps. But for the most
part, they added, it all depends on whether janjaweed are present in the area.
The sheikas say they are making some headway toward persuading families to
accept raped women back into their embrace and let them report attacks to aid
workers. One advantage is that they get a certificate confirming they were
"We tell husbands they might be compensated one day," said Ajaba Zubeir, a
sheika. "But I don't think that's going to happen."
The seven women say they haven't left the camp since they were attacked. They
have started their own small workshop and make water jugs out of clay and donkey
dung to sell to other refugees.
As they worked on their large pile of jugs and bowls, they said they are even
poorer than before, because they now have to buy their firewood from other
"But at least we never have to go out again," said Aisha.
None of the women has any faith that Sudanese or international courts will
ever give them justice. All Zahya asks is that one day she can return to her
"If people could at least help end the fighting, that would be enough," she