The armed group opened fire and looted the last operating hospital in West Darfur, forcing it to close.

Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary force has attacked the last operating hospital in the Darfur region, an international aid group said.

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, reported late Sunday that RSF had attacked the southern hospital in Al-Fisher, the capital of North Darfur province, yesterday. The armed group opened fire on medical staff and patients as it ransacked the premises, forcing the closure of the facility.

“It is outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital. This is not an isolated incident, as staff and patients have endured weeks of attacks at the facility from all sides, but the firing inside the hospital crosses a line. does,” said Michel Lacharite, MSF’s head of emergency operations.

War broke out in Sudan. In mid-April 2023, between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary RSF, the world’s largest displacement crisis erupted, according to UN estimates, killing at least 15,500 people.

Al-Fishar is the SAF’s last bastion in Darfur and an important humanitarian hub for the region on the brink of famine. Millions of displaced people are taking shelter there, forced to survive without basic goods amid fears that the ongoing fighting around the city – raging sporadically since April 2023 – could turn into an all-out war for control. will be done

At the time of the attack on the city’s hospital, there were 10 patients on duty and one less medical staff, MSF said, with the Sudanese Ministry of Health already beginning the evacuation process.

Most of the remaining patients and the medical team managed to escape the firing, the NGO said. However, he added that “due to the chaos, our team was unable to confirm whether anyone was killed or injured”.

The attack on the hospital comes as the RSF has stepped up its operations around Al-Fisher in recent weeks. More than 120 people have been killed due to the escalation of fighting.

The townspeople have called it “hell on earth”, where they could lose their lives any day, Toby Harvard, the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, told Al Jazeera last month.

Between May 25 and June 3, the hospital was hit by mortar shells and bullets three times, killing two people and injuring 14, MSF said.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in Sudan, including up to 15,000 in one town in West Darfur alone, since fighting broke out 14 months ago, according to the United Nations. About 9 million people have been displaced from their homes.

Both sides are accused of war crimes, including the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid.

According to the United Nations, widespread sexual violence has also been reported, amounting to crimes against humanity.

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