Gang rape fuels fresh protests in Sudan

STORY: Protests have become familiar sight in Sudan's capital Khartoum - but this one is different.

These demonstrators were marching after a government official said security forces had gang-raped a 19-year-old.

The woman, who is South Sudanese and asked not to be identified, was travelling on a public bus on Monday March 14) evening.

A demonstration against an October 25 military coup was winding down. She had not been taking part.

Speaking on Wednesday (March 16), she said the bus was attacked with tear gas, prompting passengers to run away.

"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. 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."

Sulaima Ishaq, who heads Sudan's Violence Against Women Unit at the Ministry of Social Development, said the incident was under investigation by police.

She said protesters had rescued the woman and taken her to a nearby hospital.

Police did not respond to a request for comment.

In December the United Nations said it had received 13 allegations of rape and gang rape after a December 19 attempted sit-in was dispersed in central Khartoum.

The U.N. and several countries have also criticized Sudan's security crackdowns - which have killed at least 87 people since October, according to medics aligned with the protest movement.

Protesters in the capital on Tuesday (March 15) faced heavy tear gas and stun grenades as they marched towards the presidential palace.

Among them were many young women and girls - some carrying signs reading "They will not break you" and "we will not be broken".