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Sudan: Rebels Attack Major Hospital in Darfur

The main hospital al-Fashir city in Darfur, Sudan, has been attacked and put of service by the rebel Rapid Support Forces.
File Photo: A Médecins Sans Frontières release from January 2024 shows women and babies at the Zamzam displacement camp, close to El Fasher in North Darfur, Sudan. (MSF/Mohamed Zakaria/Handout via REUTERS)

CAIRO: The main hospital in Sudan’s al-Fashir city has been attacked by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and put out of service, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which supports the facility, told Reuters on Sunday.

The city, in the Darfur region of northwestern Sudan, is home to more than 1.8 million residents and displaced people, and is the latest front in a war between the Sudanese army and the RSF which began in April 2023.

The RSF, which has taken over the capital Khartoum and most of western Sudan, is also seeking to advance further within the centre, as United Nations agencies say the people of Sudan are at “imminent risk of famine”.

Some 130,000 people have fled their homes in al-Fashir as a result of the fighting in April and May, the United Nations has said. South Hospital was the only hospital in al-Fashir capable of handling daily mass casualty events, according to MSF.

From May 10 to June 6, some 1,315 wounded arrived at the facility and 208 people have died there, but many people are not able to reach the hospital due to the fighting, MSF told Reuters.

“It is outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital. This is not an isolated incident – staff and patients have endured attacks on the facility for weeks from all sides, but opening fire inside a hospital crosses a line,” said Michel Lacharite, head of MSF emergencies in a statement.

The hospital had previously started evacuating patients after being impacted by fighting three times since May 25, and the remaining patients and staff were able to flee.

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The al-Fashir Emergency Response Room, a volunteer group, said on Sunday that several people were killed and injured in the attack and that medicine and an ambulance were looted.

An eyewitness told Reuters he saw people evacuating the hospital, and other eyewitnesses said the RSF had launched missiles at the hospital and its vicinity.

A separate attack on Saturday on the Abu Shouk camp to the north of the city impacted another medical centre, injured more than 30, and killed at least two, the camp committee and a volunteer said.

A report last week from The Yale Humanitarian Research Lab said some 40 settlements outside the city have been struck with arson attacks since March.

Local residents have blamed the RSF for the attacks.

Leaving the city has proven dangerous, as residents say those fleeing have been attacked and even killed on the main RSF-controlled road out of the city.

Most of those leaving have taken routes either south to Zamzam camp, or west to the Tawila and Jebel Mara areas, which are controlled by armed groups, including the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army headed by Abdelwahid Mohamed Nour, an aid worker and residents said.

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