Healthcare charity Doctors Without Borders says death threats and assaults are endangering its operations in the country.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Friday its teams in the Sudanese capital Khartoum are still being targeted by armed groups, endangering humanitarian efforts in the country, where fighting has raged since mid-April.
The medical charity claimed that 18 of its staff were attacked on Thursday while in a convoy transporting medical supplies to the Turkish Hospital, one of the last two healthcare facilities operating in South Khartoum.
“After arguing about the reasons for MSF’s presence, the armed men then aggressively assaulted our team, physically beating and whipping them, as well as detaining the driver of one of our vehicles,” MSF said in a statement.
The driver was later released but the vehicle was stolen, according to the aid organization. The incident occurred just 700 meters away from the hospital, where hundreds of patients, including children, are currently receiving treatment.
The charity said a series of such incidents have jeopardized its operations, and warned that it will be unable to provide medical care without safety guarantees.
“In order to save people’s lives, the lives of our staff who are there to carry out this work must not be put at risk,” said MSF’s emergencies manager for Sudan, Christophe Garnier.
According to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, more than 3,000 people have been killed in the power struggle between rival generals of the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. The UN says more than 3 million people have fled their homes over the past three months.
Airstrikes, street battles, and artillery fire shook Khartoum on Thursday, AFP reported, citing witnesses.
MSF said on Friday that 44 patients who were injured in an airstrike were brought to the Turkish Hospital on Thursday, following a massive influx of wounded over the previous three and a half weeks.
Since the outbreak of hostilities on April 15, the Geneva-based NGO said it has treated over 1,600 people in hospitals in Khartoum’s east and south, as well as Omdurman, the country’s most populous city.
However, the charity said that its “ongoing support may soon no longer be possible” due to the “deteriorated” security situation.