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Last operating hospital in Sudan's Darfur city shut after paramilitary attack

This photo shows South Hospital in El Fasher, a state capital of the Western region of Darfur in Sudan. (By MSF)

The medical aid group Doctors Without, also known as MSF, says the last operating hospital in a key state capital of Sudan’s Western region of Darfur has been shut after an attack by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

"On Saturday, MSF and the ministry of health suspended all activities in South Hospital, El-Fasher, North Darfur, after RSF soldiers stormed the facility, opened fire and looted it, including stealing an MSF ambulance," said the NGO in a statement posted late Sunday on X.

According to MSF, "intensified fighting" around the hospital earlier this week had triggered its evacuation, and "there were only 10 patients and a reduced medical team" there by the time of the attack.

"Most patients and the remaining medical team... were able to flee the RSF shooting," MSF said.

It noted that "due to the chaos, our team was unable to verify if there were any killed or wounded" in the latest attack.

The RSF has been fighting the army, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, for control of the North African country since April 15 last year in a war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced nearly eight million.

Michel-Olivier Lacharite, head of emergencies at MSF, said it was "outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital."

"Warring parties must halt attacks on medical care," he said, adding, "Hospitals are closing. Remaining facilities can't handle mass casualties."

Fierce fighting reignited in El-Fasher, the last state capital not under RSF control in the western region of Darfur and a key humanitarian hub for a region on the brink of famine, on May 10 in what UN chief Antonio Guterres has called "an alarming new chapter" in the conflict.

Since then, "at least 192 people have been killed and more than 1,230 wounded" in the city, according to a conservative estimate by the MSF.

Sudan on edge of ‘world’s largest humanitarian crisis’

Menahiwle, the World Food Programme (WFM) warned that Sudan may soon become the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis.”

The WFP executive director, Cindy McCain, emphasized the significance of maintaining safe access and open crossings to transport humanitarian aid as the “forgotten crisis” in Sudan rages on.

“We cannot get food in, we can barely get food in, we certainly aren’t getting it in at scale, and you see the results of what can happen if people aren’t fed. We’re also coming into the lean season, which makes it very difficult many times for our trucks to even operate if they can get in,” McCain said in an interview with CBS on Sunday.

“We need safe and unfettered access.”

McCain warned that the crisis could have “catastrophic effects,” further destabilizing that region of Africa.

Both warring sides in Sudan have been accused of war crimes, including targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and torture.

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