Three die as Sudan conflict escalates


Michel-Olivier Lacharité

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – TWO children and a caregiver died at El Fasher paediatric hospital in Sudan following a bomb thrown by rivals Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Saturday.

According to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders, an airstrike carried out by SAF landed 50 metres from the hospital before killing the trio while causing damage to the hospital.

“Two children who were receiving treatment in our intensive care unit at the paediatric hospital, as well as one caregiver, have been killed as a result of collateral damage following an airstrike by the Sudanese Armed Forces. 115 children were receiving treatment in this hospital – now no one is,” said Michel-Olivier Lacharité, head of MSF’s emergency operations.

He said the hospital was one of the few specialising in the treatment of sick children that had managed to remain operational since the start of the war.

Lacharité stated the hospital received referrals from across the Darfur region that had been forced to close due to the conflict.

“The 115 children in the hospital were receiving treatment for conditions such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition. Now, many are receiving no treatment at all. The children who were killed were in a critical condition in our ICU (intensive care unit)), but their lives could have been saved,” Lacharité said.

He said Saturday’s incident came after heavy fighting between the RSF and SAF/Joint Forces in North Darfur, when 160 other people were wounded – including 31 women and 19 children – who had earlier arrived at the MSF-supported South Hospital in El Fasher.

Lacharité said the 25 of these wounded were in a terminal condition upon arrival and passed away.

The intensified fighting saw almost all patients flee the hospital in search of safety.

He called upon the warring parties to protect civilians and ensure the protection of health structures, insisting hospitals were obligated to do so under International Humanitarian Law, and the Jeddah declaration – signed exactly one year ago on the day that the hospital was damaged and the children and caregiver were killed.

“This must not happen again. We remind the warring parties with the utmost gravity that hospitals and health facilities must not be targeted, or become collateral damage in a conflict. We also urge them to ensure that they protect civilians – something they completely failed to do this weekend. As well as the two children and the caregiver, 25 people wounded in the fighting who arrived at South Hospital on Friday were in a terminal condition and it was not possible to save their
lives,” Lacharité said.

The conflict escalation has to date forced thousands of civilians to flee the country to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Egypt, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea respectively.

– CAJ News

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