NEW YORK/PARIS—A hospital operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was directly targeted in an aerial bombing in Sudan on January 20, forcing the suspension of medical activities, MSF announced today.
The hospital, located in the Nuba Mountains village of Frandala in the South Kordofan region of Sudan, was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF). Repeated and targeted bombings in the region prevent the safe operation of medical activities, depriving the local population of life saving care.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the bombing of the Frandala hospital,”said Marc Van der Mullen, MSF head of mission. “With more than 100 patients present, we were very lucky not to have more casualties because people simply had no time to seek protection. Everyone is shocked and frightened of further attacks.”
Approximately 150 patients and staff were in the hospital when a SAF fighter jet dropped a cluster of 13 bombs, two of which landed inside the hospital compound. The others struck just outside the hospital fence. One MSF staff member and one patient were injured. The property also suffered damage.
The attack is part of an indiscriminate bombing campaign in South Kordofan, a feature of the war between authorities in Khartoum and rebels groups in the Nuba Mountains. Health facilities are not spared, adding to the suffering of the population created by the bombing raids.
The Frandala hospital was previously bombed in June, 2014. That attack took place despite the Sudanese government’s knowledge of the hospital location and its activities, which had been previously communicated to the authorities by MSF. One patient was killed in the attack and several others were wounded. The hospital also sustained significant damage. MSF publicly condemned the attack and demanded respect of medical facilities.
“Today there can be no doubt that this was a deliberate and targeted bombing on a civilian hospital structure and part of a strategy to terrorize the community,”said Van der Mullen. “MSF again calls on Khartoum to respect assistance provided to the population. Despite this latest setback we will try to find a way to continue to provide care to the population caught in this largely undocumented war.”
MSF is one of the few health care providers in South Kordofan. The MSF facility in Frandala, featuring outpatient and inpatient wards, began operating in 2012. Nearly 80,000 consultations have been performed, along with close to 4,000 hospitalizations.