May 11, 2006
Forty-six people suffered violent injuries, including multiple gun-shot wounds, in an attack on the town of Labado in Sudan's South Darfur state.
The wounded arrived on the 8th of May in a truck at the clinic of Doctors Without Borders/Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the town of Muhajariya. "The truck backed up towards the clinic," describes MSF nurse Lisa Blaker. "When the doors of the truck opened and the tarp billowed up, I saw injured people piled on top of each other."
Of the 46 patients, 30 are civilians, including two women and four elderly men. Many of them required urgent surgery. The MSF team worked through the night operating on gunshot wounds to abdomens, shoulders, arms, legs, and chests. Two patients have already died as a result of their injuries.
The patients from Labado told the MSF team that a number of people were killed during the attack. Some patients described how their husbands, children, and other family members were shot down during the attack and died in front of them.
The people of Labado have experienced such violence before, including an attack in December 2004, during which the town was looted and burnt. At the time of the latest attack, there were an estimated 24,000 people living in the area. MSF has been providing medical care in Labado with a weekly mobile clinic.
The attack on Labado is another example of the insecurity that continues to plague civilians in Darfur. The MSF team in Muhajariya (120 kilometers northeast of the South Darfur capital of Nyala) has had a steady influx of casualties over the last weeks, having admitted 127 patients with violent trauma in the past month alone. The 35-bed hospital is currently overflowing.
MSF logistician Jonathan Henry says the situation in Muhajariya is deteriorating: "The fact that our hospital wards are full of wounded is a testament to the effects of this tragic conflict. The stories that the patients tell us are heart-wrenching. And these people are the lucky ones who made it to our hospital. It is those that have not yet made the journey that we fear for."
MSF launched its biggest humanitarian effort in its history in 2004 to provide assistance for the people in Darfur. MSF currently has 170 international and more than 2,600 Sudanese staff working in 18 locations around Darfur.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)