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Sudan: Deadliest days in Khartoum since conflict began

Recent horrific attacks in residential areas have resulted in some of the city’s highest death tolls since the conflict began nearly five months ago.

Outside Bashair Teaching Hospital in Khartoum, Sudan, where a sign hangs on the side of the building.

Sudan 2023 © Ala Kheir/MSF

KHARTOUM, September 12, 2023—Recent horrific attacks in residential areas of Khartoum, Sudan, have resulted in some of the city’s highest death tolls since the conflict between rival armed forces began nearly five months ago, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.  

On September 10, an explosion in Khartoum's Gorro market killed 43 people and wounded more than 60 people who were treated at Bashair Teaching Hospital in south Khartoum, where MSF teams are working. 

"The horror of the day was overwhelming," said Marie Burton, MSF emergency coordinator in Khartoum. "For hours, dozens of bodies lay under sheets in the hospital’s courtyard until families came to identify their lost loved ones. And in the meantime, our staff tried their best to save the lives of the survivors, whose wounds were testament to the incredible power of the weaponry used: body parts torn off, abdomens ripped open. Even though this war has been going on for nearly five months, the Sudanese volunteers on whom the hospital relies are still shocked by what they witnessed." 

Wounded MSF patients on hospital beds and stretchers at Bashair Teaching Hospital in Khartoum, Sudan.
The MSF-supported Bashair Teaching Hospital in southern Khartoum received over 60 wounded patients and 43 deaths after an explosion in a market on September 10.

A string of mass casualty events in Khartoum 

On September 9, the residential neighborhood of Al Haj Youssef was struck by a deadly explosion that damaged houses and left people with severe shrapnel wounds. A nearby hospital supported by MSF staff, Alban Al-Jadeed, received 45 people wounded in the blast, including six who were dead on arrival. 

"Our teams heard a loud explosion, so they rushed to prepare for the emergency," said Christian Mas Bouilloud, MSF medical coordinator in Khartoum. "Soon after that, patients started arriving in groups. Most had shrapnel wounds, many of them critical. It's horrific that residential areas, such as homes and markets, are being hit." 

On September 3, medical teams in Omdurman treated more than 50 patients for violence-related injuries following renewed fighting in Umbada. Eight patients died due to injuries from bullets or explosions.  

On September 2, another strike on a market in south Khartoum killed 21 and severely injured six people who arrived at Turkish Hospital, where an MSF team is working.  

Other organizations have also reported casualties in Khartoum in recent days, underlining the toll that the conflict is taking on the capital region. 

Deadly violence continues in Darfur 

MSF teams working alongside the Ministry of Health in El Fasher, North Darfur, also responded to a massive influx of patients on September 9, after heavy fighting between warring parties in the city. At South Hospital, they treated 48 patients, mostly for wounds from explosions and gunshots. Four of these patients died. 

Sudan crisis response