SUDAN – MSF HOSPITAL BOMBED IN SOUTH KORDOFAN
PARIS, France, January 23, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A hospital operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was directly targeted in an aerial bombing by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF) in the South Kordofan region of Sudan on January 20, forcing the suspension of medical activities. One MSF staff and one patient were injured and the property suffered damaged.
“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 during midday operations when a SAF fighter jet dropped a cluster of 13 bombs of which two landed inside the hospital compound and the others just outside the hospital fence.
The hospital is located in the Nuba Mountains village of Frandala in the South Kordofan region of Sudan. Repeated and targeted bombings in the region prevent the safe operation of medical activities, depriving the local population of life saving care.
“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 calls on Khartoum again to respect the assistance we brought to the population. Despite the setback of today, we will try to find a way to continue to provide care to the population caught in his largely undocumented war”.
This attack is part of an indiscriminate bombing campaign occurring regularly in South Kordofan in the war between Khartoum Authorities and rebels groups in the Nuba Mountains. The population suffers regularly from bombing raids and health facilities are not escaping to be targeted.
The Frandala hospital was previously bombed in June, 2014. That attack took place despite the fact that Khartoum authorities were aware of MSF presence and activities in the hospital. Several patients were injured and one killed, and the hospital suffered significant damage. At that time MSF publicly condemned the attack and demanded respect of the medical facilities.
MSF is one of the few healthcare 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.