Country Listing

Sudan Table of Contents


Incidence of Crime

The widespread instability and clashes between ethnic groups arising from the civil war were accompanied by breakdowns of law and order in many parts of the country. Killings, rapes, and thefts of personal possessions, food, and livestock were committed by various militia groups and frequently by the SPLA and the government armed forces as well. Large areas of Sudan became depopulated as a result of the fighting and migrations in search of safety. The availability of weapons contributed to the prevalence of banditry, especially along the Chad, Zaire, and Uganda borders. In the western province of Darfur, the police wielded little authority, and lawlessness prevailed. Smuggling was also common, particularly along the Ethiopian border.

The collapse of security in many areas was not fully reflected in available statistics on crime, although some indications of the pattern of criminality did emerge. According to the most recent data reported by Sudan to Interpol covering the year 1986, more than 135,000 criminal offenses were recorded, reflecting a rate of 650 crimes per 100,000 of population. More than 1,000 homicides occurred and 3,300 sex offenses were registered, including 600 rapes. There were 7,300 serious assaults. The more than 100,000 thefts of various kinds constituted by far the most common category of crime. They included armed robbery (33,000 cases), breaking and entering (22,500), theft under aggravated circumstances (1,900), and automobile theft (1,500). There were 15,000 cases of fraud and 3,600 drug infractions.

Sudan was not a major international narcotics marketplace. Most narcotics consumed in Sudan consisted of marijuana grown in the eastern part of the country. Penalties for narcotics use were similar to those for alcohol and could include flogging. In nearly all categories except narcotics violations, Sudan reported more offenses than Egypt, a country with more than twice the population. This discrepancy may be accounted for by more accurate police records on the extent of criminal activity or by different definitions of the offenses reported to Interpol.

Sudanese authorities claimed to have solved more than 70 percent of most forms of robbery and theft and 53 percent of all crimes reported. Only 25 percent of homicides, 40 percent of general sex offenses, and 32 percent of rape cases were recorded as solved.

Data as of June 1991