JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — At least 18 people were killed in armed conflict that erupted last night in the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal, South Sudan, including two South Sudanese staff members of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who were attacked in their homes, the organization said today.
Teams worked through the night to treat 36 wounded people at the MSF hospital in Malakal, including an MSF staff member. At least 25 patients had suffered gunshot wounds and eight required surgery. More casualties are continuing to arrive today.
“This attack on civilians is outrageous and we demand that armed groups stop these actions,” said Marcus Bachmann, coordinator of MSF projects in South Sudan. “The Protection of Civilians site should be a sanctuary respected by all parties. Our thoughts are with the families of our colleagues who have lost their lives.”
The violence initially forced about 600 people, mostly women and children, to gather inside the hospital.
People have been sheltering in the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal since conflict erupted in the area in December 2013. The number of people there has increased to 40,000, following an influx of 10,000 displaced people in April 2015 and a further 16,000 in July and August 2015.
Many came from areas where no aid had been available for months, arriving without any possessions.
MSF operates a 50-bed hospital in Malakal that includes a 24-hour emergency room. MSF also run a separate emergency room inside the Protection of Civilians site. MSF has been working in the region that today constitutes the Republic of South Sudan since 1983. MSF employs more than 2,937 South Sudanese staff and 329 international staff to respond to a wide range of medical emergencies in 18 projects across seven of South Sudan's 10 states and the Abyei Special Administrative Area.