Last Civilian Hospital in Besieged Sudanese City Forced to Close After Attack

Doctors at the last functioning civilian hospital in the besieged city of el-Fasher, Sudan, have been forced to close the facility after it was attacked amidst the country’s devastating civil war. El-Fasher remains the only city under army control in the Darfur region. The hospital, supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), was the sole remaining facility where injured civilians could receive treatment.

Reports of shells hitting the city’s South Hospital had been circulating for days, causing injuries and deaths. However, eyewitnesses claim that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered the hospital on Saturday, causing chaos, looting medical supplies, stealing an ambulance, and assaulting staff. MSF’s interim head of mission in Sudan confirmed the attack and the hospital’s closure due to its proximity to the frontline.

The attack on the hospital is another indication of the lack of rules in the Sudanese civil war. MSF’s Head of Emergencies, Michel Lacharite, condemned the attack as “outrageous” and emphasized the responsibility of warring parties to spare medical facilities. The hospital’s closure is a significant setback for the people of el-Fasher, as it was the main referral facility for treating war-wounded individuals.

The conflict in Sudan has claimed over 15,000 lives and displaced nearly nine million people since its start in April 2023. The RSF has been accused of numerous abuses against civilians, including using rape as a weapon of war and targeting non-Arab groups in Darfur. Despite several rounds of peace talks, the war continues to devastate the country.