RSF Rampage: Health Facility Looted as Darfur Conflict Escalates

Total Views : 21
Zoom In Zoom Out Read Later Print

The Rapid Support Forces attacked and looted a hospital in Darfur, forcing its closure. This intensified conflict has claimed over 120 lives, while Sudan's war has devastated the region, leaving thousands dead and pushing many to famine.

The paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), engaged in a year-long conflict with Sudan's military, reportedly attacked and looted a health facility in Darfur's western region, resulting in its closure, according to an international aid group.

The RSF assaulted the South Hospital in al-Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur province, on Sunday, indiscriminately firing upon medical personnel and patients, Doctors Without Borders stated.

This incident occurred amidst the group's heightened offensive aimed at seizing control of al-Fasher, the military's last stronghold in the expansive Darfur region. The recent two-week-long clashes in and around al-Fasher have claimed over 120 lives.

Simultaneously, the military has aligned itself with rebel factions, forming a joint force to maintain control of the city, where hundreds of thousands of displaced individuals have sought refuge since the conflict's inception.

Michel Lacharite, head of emergency operations at Doctors Without Borders, condemned the RSF's actions, stating, "It is outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital... opening fire inside a hospital crosses a line."

During the attack, there were 10 patients and a reduced medical staff present, as the aid group and the Sudanese health ministry had initiated the evacuation of patients and the transfer of medical services to other facilities the previous week, the aid group reported.

Despite the chaos, most patients and medical personnel, including Doctors Without Borders staff, managed to escape the gunfire. The extent of casualties resulting from the attack remains unclear.

Efforts to obtain comment from an RSF spokesperson were unsuccessful.

The hospital facility had previously endured three instances of shelling and gunfire between May 25 and June 3, resulting in the deaths of two individuals and injuries to 14 patients, Doctors Without Borders revealed.

Sudan's conflict erupted in April of the previous year, stemming from escalating tensions between military leaders and the RSF, culminating in open hostilities in the capital, Khartoum, and other parts of the country.

The protracted war has devastated Sudan, claiming over 14,000 lives, injuring thousands, and pushing the population to the brink of famine. The U.N. World Food Programme cautioned last month that without humanitarian aid access to the vast western region, widespread starvation and fatalities could occur in Darfur and other parts of Sudan.

Both sides have been accused of widespread sexual violence and other atrocities, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the United Nations.

The RSF originated two decades ago from Arab militias, commonly known as Janjaweed, mobilized by former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir against Central or East African populations in Darfur. At the time, they faced allegations of mass killings, rapes, and other atrocities, and Darfur became synonymous with genocide.