Hospital, camp hit in lethal North Darfur shelling

Cartoon: Omar Dafalla / RD

The Rapid Support Forces RSF have reportedly killed staff and patients, in a hospital In El Fasher, capital of North Darfur,. Abu Shouk camp for the displaced has faced more artillery strikes from the RSF, killing three children.

Multiple sources have told Radio Dabanga that members of the RSF infiltrated El Fasher Southern Hospital yesterday, shooting patients and staff, killing and wounding a number, including the director of the hospital, Ezzedine Ahmed, and the director of the accidents and emergencies dept. The Southern Hospital has been the site of several attacks by the warring parties, highlighting its importance as a tactical location.

Wednesday evening witnessed the evacuation of patients from the Southern El Fasher Hospital due to clashes between the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in the area. On Thursday morning, more than 30 missiles hit the city. El Faki Mohamed Saeed Mosque, east of the Igra Hospital, was severely damaged.

Minni Minawi, the governor of Darfur, took to the social media platform X to assert that the RSF is actively seeking to capture El Fasher, allegedly under a clandestine agreement with an undisclosed foreign nation.

El Fasher, home to about 1.5 million people, including about 800,000 displaced people, is the last of the five Darfur state capitals not under RSF control. Residents fear that full RSF control of the city could ignite strife between the Arab tribes supporting the RSF and the Zaghawa tribe, from which most fighters of the North Darfur rebel forces hail. Zaghawa leaders have allegedly contacted Chadian President Mahamet Deby, also a Zaghawa, asking him to intervene to prevent a “catastrophic bloodbath” in the area. The international community have made multiple calls to the warring parties to deescalate the violence and restore unimpeded humanitarian access however to no avail. US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in May, warned of an imminent “a large-scale massacre” in the North Darfur capital.

Abu Shouk camp

Sources have reported that four civilians were killed on Thursday in artillery shelling by the RSF on Abu Shouk camp for the displaced northern part of El Fasher. The dead [trigger alert: the following link contains images that some viewers might experience as disturbing] include three young children. Facing indiscriminate shelling on residential neighbourhoods in the city, the camp has been under fire for several weeks, leading to a rising death and injury toll. The camp emergency room said in a statement on its Facebook page that the RSF shelled the Abu Shouk camp.

The fighting led to mass displacement. An estimated 85 per cent of the population left the northern neighbourhoods, either leaving for safer areas in the south of El Fasher or fleeing to Mellit or even Libya.

Security conditions began to deteriorate rapidly in El Fasher in late October as the RSF intensified pressure on the four other Darfur state capitals. The RSF in the east and northeast of El Fasher began wreaking havoc, until the situation exploded, and violent clashes erupted again between the two parties on October 26.