RSF Attacks Only El Fasher Hospital

Healthcare in the North Darfur city of El Fasher has taken another hit after the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched a raid upon the only operational hospital within the city, temporarily disrupting medical services there. While the hospital remains operational, the assault signifies the descent of the humanitarian crisis within the city.

A Wider Battle

The RSF’s assault upon the South El Fasher Hospital took place on Saturday, June 8th. According to doctors at the hospital, the RSF stole a number of phones and other personal belongings from staff during the raid. Further, doctors stated that the hospital director and the medical director were injured in the raid, though they did not mention if there were any fatalities that arose from it.

The RSF withdrew from the hospital and the area surrounding it after government forces, alongside allied militias, engaged the RSF.

According to the Governor of Darfur, Minni Minawi, the RSF assaulted El Fasher “from multiple directions and infiltrated the hospital, where many injured people were being treated, as a result of deliberate bombing.” The governor further described the city as “burning.”

This is not the first time that the South El Fasher Hospital, El Fasher’s last remaining operational hospital, has suffered an attack, nor is it the first time that El Fasher has suffered an attack. Clashes have been ongoing in and around the city since mid-April, with the RSF’s full assault upon the city having begun in early May.

Vitally important, El Fasher is the last remaining city in the North Darfur state that is under the control of the Sudanese military government. Beyond this, it had also become host to an extensive population of those displaced by the war, which began in April of 2023. It is estimated approximately 800,000 people are essentially trapped in El Fasher, with the majority of the roads in and out of the city having been blocked.

Though the Governor of Darfur mentioned the indiscriminate bombing by the RSF, both the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have employed these tactics, leaving the civilian population incredibly vulnerable.

These tactics of indiscriminate bombings have been employed by both sides throughout Sudan, leading to thousands of civilian casualties in attacks that oftentimes take dozens of lives in a single incident.

Regardless, the Governor of Darfur referred to the RSF’s attack on El Fasher, and the high civilian death toll that has resulted from it, as “an attempt at genocide and ethnic cleansing against the residents of El Fasher.”

This is further not the first accusation of genocide and ethnic cleansing that has been levelled at the RSF, who are a participant in the Darfur genocide. The RSF have carried out a number of ethnic based massacres throughout the war, largely within Darfur, and a number of the citizens within El Fasher are concerned of more of these kinds of massacres being carried out in the event of an RSF takeover.

The RSF’s continued assault upon the city comes as recent reports from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signal that the number of people internally displaced within Sudan is soon to reach 10 million, presently sitting at approximately 9.9 million. Sudan is already the worlds largest displacement crisis, and the situation continues to decline.

In addition to the IOM’s report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a report stating that, for the month of May, 1.1 million people in four different Sudanese regions (Darfur, Khartoum, Al Jazirah, and Kordofan) were denied humanitarian aid. This was a sharp increase from April, when approximately 600,000 people were denied aid.

The UN, alongside other humanitarian organizations, have faced continual issues in delivering humanitarian aid to civilians in Sudan, where 18 million people suffer from acute levels of hunger. One of the largest causes of these issues is a supreme lack of funding, however in addition to this the UN faces a series of bureaucratic impediments which prevent efficient delivery, as well as conflict throughout the country limiting available routes, or blocking some areas completely.

The UN has requested the relevant parties to remove some of these bureaucratic impediments, to some success as visa approval rates for humanitarian workers increased significantly, however many barriers remain in place.

The UN has further called for increased funding to support its programs in Sudan, however remains to be underfunded.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.

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