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USA condemns Sudan’s bombing of MSF hospital in South Kordofan

January 28 - 2015 WASHINGTON
The MSF hospital in Farandallah, Nuba Mountains, that was hit by two bombs on 20 January 2015 (MSF)
The MSF hospital in Farandallah, Nuba Mountains, that was hit by two bombs on 20 January 2015 (MSF)

The USA strongly condemns the aerial bombardment of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Farandallah, South Kordofan, on 20 January by the Sudanese Air Force.

“Targeted attacks by the Government of Sudan against civilians and humanitarian workers in conflict zones demonstrate the government’s disregard for the wellbeing of its people and its international obligations,” the spokesman for the US Department of State said in a press statement on Tuesday.

“Increased government military activity in 2014 resulted in a sharp escalation in civilian casualties, increased displacement, damage to public infrastructure, prevention of agricultural production, and exacerbation of an already critical humanitarian situation,” the statement reads.

“The humanitarian crisis affects more than 1.7 million people and has caused nearly 265,000 Sudanese refugees to flee to South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya.”

The US Department of State reiterated its call upon the Sudanese government to “halt its campaigns of armed violence against its own citizens”, as these attacks “further undermine the enormous humanitarian response needed to support those who require basic life-saving services”.

The USA provided more than $297.5 million in humanitarian support in 2014 and to date in 2015.

Air raid

On 20 January, approximately 150 patients and staff were in the hospital during midday operations when a Sudanese Air Force fighter jet dropped a cluster of 13 bombs, of which two landed within the hospital compound and the others just outside the hospital fence.

One MSF staff and one patient were injured, and the property suffered damage. The medical activities were suspended, MSF announced in a statement on 22 January.

We condemn in the strongest terms the bombing of the Farandallah hospital, said Marc Van der Mullen, MSF Head of Mission in Sudan. “… we were very lucky not to have more casualties because people simply had no time to seek protection. Everyone is shocked and afraid of further attacks”.

He added that “there can be no doubt that this was a deliberate and targeted bombing of a civilian hospital structure and part of a strategy to terrorise the community.

“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,” the MSF head stressed.

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