Sudan’s notorious paramilitary group loots a Darfur hospital, aid group says – Winnipeg Free Press

CAIRO (AP) — The notorious Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group, fighting Sudan’s military for over a year, fired shots and looted a health facility in the western region of Darfur, forcing its closure, an international aid group said.

The RSF, attacked the South Hospital in al-Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur province on Sunday, opening fire on medical staff and patients, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.

This came as the group intensified its offensive to try and wrest control of the city, the military’s last stronghold in the sprawling Darfur region. Two weeks of fighting last month in and around al-Fasher has killed more than 120 people.

FILE – Sudanese soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces unit, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, secure the area where Dagalo attends a military-backed tribe’s rally, in the East Nile province, Sudan, on June 22, 2019. The RSF, attacked the South Hospital in al-Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur province on Sunday, June 9, 2024 opening fire on medical staff and patients, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Meanwhile, the military has allied itself with rebel groups and formed a joint force to retain control of the city, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have taken shelter since the conflict began.

“It is outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital. This is not an isolated incident, as staff and patients have endured attacks on the facility for weeks from all sides, but opening fire inside a hospital crosses a line,” said Michel Lacharite, head of emergency operations at Doctors Without Borders.

At the time of the attack, there were 10 patients and a reduced medical crew as the aid group and the Sudanese health ministry had begun evacuating patients and transferring medical services last week to other facilities, the aid group said.

Most patients and the medical team, including Doctors Without Borders staff, managed to flee the shooting. It was not immediately clear whether there were casualties from the attack, according to the aid group.

A spokesman for the RSF didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

The facility had been hit by mortar shells and bullets three times between May 25 and June 3, killing two people and wounding 14 patients, Doctors Without Borders said.