MSF employee killed by shell as North Darfur fighting rages on

MSF workers carry a woundeed Sudanese refugee into a tent in Adré, in western Chad (Photo: MSF / Mohammad Ghannam)

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched an overnight attack towards the headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) 6th Infantry Division in El Fasher yesterday evening. More than 120 people have been killed, and almost 1,000 wounded, by fighting in the North Darfur capital over the past two weeks.

Listeners told Radio Dabanga that RSF artillery shelling resumed in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, yesterday morning “and went on for several hours”. There is a significant wave of displacement due to the clashes.

A member of the Médecins Sans Frontières team (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) was killed on Saturday when a shell hit his house near El Fasher Grand Market, the organisation reported on X.

MSF added that the death toll in El Fasher has reached 123 people in the past two weeks, while the Southern Hospital in El Fasher received 979 wounded.

In a statement on Saturday, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said she is deeply saddened by the news of the death of an MSF member in El Fasher and extended condolences to his family.

“This tragic incident comes when hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children in North Darfur are once again caught in the crossfire of war.

“The relentless violence must come to an end. Each innocent life claimed stands as a harrowing testament to the sheer brutality of war.

“My message to all parties is simple. Stop the fighting. A human tragedy of epic proportions is on the horizon, but it can, and must, be prevented.”


The Dar El Salam Emergency Room in North Darfur said in a statement yesterday that almost 20,000 displaced people have fled to the locality to escape fighting in El Fasher and other areas in the past weeks, most of whom are staying with host families.

“There are 11 shelters, 8 of which are schools, in Dar El Salam. The displaced are living in difficult conditions due to the lack of external assistance from humanitarian organisations”, the emergency room lamented.

Many people have reportedly fled to areas controlled by the Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW).

Conflicting reports

The SAF said in a statement yesterday it “successfully expelled the RSF outside of the eastern borders of El Fasher”, in collaboration with joint armed movements in Darfur, adding they took control of areas previously occupied by the RSF.

The RSF released a conflicting statement yesterday saying it repelled an attack by the SAF in El Fasher on Saturday and accused the army and allies of sheltering in displaced camps and using civilians as human shields.

For their part, the joint armed movements in Darfur denied reports that its leaders were negotiating with the RSF in El Fasher, adding in a statement yesterday that they would “continue to fight the RSF in El Fasher and elsewhere”.

In an interview with Al Arabiya yesterday , Deputy SAF Commander-in-Chief Yasir El Atta renewed his accusation that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of backing the RSF in El Fasher. He also accused France of “seeking an alternative homeland in Darfur for diaspora Arabs”, and stressed that the army will continue to fight “regardless of the outcome in El Fasher”.

Humanitarian conditions

In a briefing about the humanitarian situation in El Fasher, posted on Friday, the UN said that about 800,000 civilians in El Fasher and surrounding areas were facing severely deteriorating humanitarian conditions amid ongoing clashes between the SAF and the RSF.

“The fighting has forced thousands of people to flee since May 10 and caused hundreds of civilian casualties,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“Unfortunately, at El Fasher Southern Hospital – the only functioning hospital in that state – only 10 days of supplies are left, with an urgent need to restock the hospital,” he said.

Dujarric told journalists that “more than a dozen trucks carrying aid for more than 121,000 people have been trying to reach El Fasher for more than a month, but have been hampered by the security situation”.

As reported by Dabanga on Wednesday, a report by the Sudanese Transparency and Policy Tracker (STPT) indicated that since taking control of Mellit, North Darfur, last month, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has “used the town as a base to control the flow of goods into Darfur and to extract resources from trade”.

“The RSF refuses to allow humanitarian aid through vital routes controlled by SAF and their allies. This, coupled with disruptions to commercial traffic between Kufra and Mellit, has further restricted aid flow into Darfur”, STPT said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said “only around 30 percent of health facilities [in Sudan] are functional “and even so at minimal levels” while medical supplies are meeting only around a quarter of the needs. He said that the WHO warehouse in El Gezira has been inaccessible since last December, adding that “some states, such as Darfur, did not receive medical supplies during the past year”.