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MSF Treats Victims of New Attacks in Southern Sudan
May 12, 2009
On Friday, May 8, an attack on the village of Torkej in Upper Nile State in Southern Sudan, located on the border with Jonglei State, resulted in the arrival of many war wounded to a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Nasir. Patients reported that many people were dead in the village and that thousands were forced to flee. Torkej is approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Nasir, where MSF runs a hospital providing basic health care and surgical care.
Since early Friday morning, a total of 57 people had arrived at the hospital. Upon their arrival, an MSF surgeon immediately started treating people suffering from gunshot injuries. By Sunday, a Red Cross mobile surgical team was able to fly to the area and provide assistance. Many patients suffered multiple gunshot wounds requiring follow-up surgery and care. One patient, a 15 year-old boy, died in the hospital from severe gunshot wounds to the head. The vast majority of victims are women and children.
Tribal raids between various groups across Jonglei and Upper Nile States have escalated in recent months, resulting in hundreds of dead and thousands of displaced people. The attack in Torkej took place in the early morning hours, when attackers surrounded and raided the village. According to reports from local sources, at least 66 people were killed, the majority women and children. Many families abandoned all their possessions as they fled. Several thousand civilians have been displaced, with upwards of 1,000 already arriving on the outskirts of Nasir.
MSF teams have been working in Sudan since 1978, providing emergency medical humanitarian assistance. In addition to frequent outbreaks of violence and attacks in the region, malnutrition is prevalent, maternal mortality rates remain among the highest in the world, tuberculosis and kala azar infections are ongoing problems, and large-scale outbreaks of meningitis, measles, cholera, and malaria are common. Three weeks ago, MSF teams responded to the needs of the wounded from violent clashes in the village of Akobo.