Darfur’s ‘only dialysis centre’ hit by RSF

Aftermath of RSF shelling on the last remaining dialysis centre in El Fasher, North Darfur, on June 23 (Photo: El Fasher Resistance Committees via Facebook)

On Sunday, the only remaining dialysis centre in El Fasher, North Darfur was targeted by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), causing severe damage to equipment and buildings. There are reports that another hospital in El Fasher was targeted by the RSF an hour ago.

Sources on the ground told Radio Dabanga that part of the wards, and the centre’s ambulance, were destroyed in the bombing. The medical supplies storage located nearby was also damaged. There is conflicting information about whether the centre was completely or partially destroyed.

The dialysis centre is located in the north of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, near the base of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) 6th Infantry Division. This area has been subjected to continuous artillery shelling by the RSF since clashes ignited in and around the city six weeks ago, often hitting homes.

Since yesterday afternoon, video clips have circulated on social media depicting the centre after the attack. A 36-second long video examined by Radio Dabanga shows one of the centre’s gates, not the main gate, which is attached to a small gate for the reception room. The video, filmed around 16.00, features sounds of gunfire in the background.

The Dabanga verification team reviewed the video clips, confirming their authenticity and that they were filmed at the centre. The footage supports the narrative that the centre was not entirely burned but that parts of it were destroyed.

The dialysis centre in El Fasher is the only one in North Darfur. Last October, the state government decided to upgrade the centre to a regional facility to handle medical cases from the other states of Darfur, after most centres ceased operations due to the war.

The centre has ceased operations “indefinitely”, depriving 94 patients from different states of Darfur of dialysis treatment, according to doctors who worked at the centre. A doctor told Radio Dabanga that workers dismantled a large part of the dialysis machines and equipment and moved them to a safe place, fearing further attacks.

Just one hour ago, reports came in of an alleged RSF attack on another hospital in El Fasher, Iqraa Hospital, according to Darfur governor Minni Minawi’s X page.

Repeated targeting

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday, the governor of the Darfur region Minni Minawi accused the RSF of “condemning kidney failure patients to death” by targeting the dialysis centre in El Fasher. He urged the world to bear witness to these crimes “supported by a UN member state“.

The attack on the dialysis centre is the ninth on health facilities in El Fasher since the start of the fighting. El Fasher Southern Hospital has endured five attacks, forcing it to close, and the Babiker Nahar Children’s Hospital was also closed after being bombed.

Following the transfer of treatment services to the Saudi Hospital, it was bombed three times. The latest attack hit the pharmacy of the hospital on Friday, killing a pharmacist on duty. The World Health Organisation (WHO) condemned the Friday attack on the Saudi Hospital, which also hit the last functional maternity ward in North Darfur, calling it “shocking and appalling”.

El Fasher siege

Since Monday morning, the RSF has continued intense shelling operations in El Fasher. Sources and witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the bombing affected the at least five different neighbourhoods, extending to the village of Shafra, west of El Fasher. Shells also struck police buildings and the Legislative Council building, resulting in civilian casualties.

Despite a UN Security Council resolution two weeks ago calling for the lifting of the siege on El Fasher, the departure of forces posing a threat to civilians, and the opening of humanitarian corridors, SAF-RSF battles continue in the North Darfur capital.

According to the Ministry of Health of the Darfur regional authority, the death toll from the battles in El Fasher has exceeded 2,000 dead and wounded, with tens of thousands fleeing to the Zamzam camp for the displaced in search of security and food.