Home | News    Wednesday 26 February 2014

Patients, medical facilities targeted in Malakal clashes: MSF


February 26, 2014 (JUBA) – Warring factions in South Sudan have burned medical facilities, shot dead patients in their beds and looted equipment in a series of disturbing attacks on healthcare services, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Wednesday.

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Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has expressed dismay at the continued targeting of medical facilities and patients during ongoing conflict in South Sudan (Photo: Kim Clausen/MSF)

MSF staff discovered at least 14 dead bodies in Upper Nile state’s Malakal Teaching Hospital compound on Saturday, saying victims appeared to have been murdered as they lay in their beds.

The patients were among up to 75 people who had remained at the facility because they were too weak or elderly to flee to safety. A therapeutic ward used to treat malnourished children had also been burned.

In Unity state’s volatile Leer region MSF’s hospital was completely destroyed after military forces ransacked the facility.

The international medical says the attacks on medical facilities means hundreds of thousands of people will be without access to lifesaving healthcare assistance.

The capital of Upper Nile state, Malakal, has recently been the scene of heavy battles between rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar and pro-government troops, with the key oil-producing town changing hands several times at the height of the conflict.

MSF’s emergency coordinator in Malakal, Carlos Francisco, described scenes of devastation in the gruesome aftermath of the recent fighting.

“Malakal is deserted, with houses burned throughout and countless dead bodies strewn in the streets,” he said. “I can find no words to describe the brutality in Malakal, which has left in its wake a ransacked city and a thoroughly traumatised people.”

Meanwhile, and MSF assessment team that recently returned to Leer found the hospital there in ruins, with drug supplies destroyed and equipment and buildings reduced to ash.

“Leer is now empty of civilians who have fled continued insecurity and are living in terrible conditions in the bush, too terrified to return home,” said Sarah Maynard, MSF project coordinator for Leer. “But even if they were to come back tomorrow or a month from now, they would return to ruins of their former home and no healthcare.

Leer hospital had been the only fully functioning medical facility in southern Unity state, providing healthcare for about 300,000 people in the region, and MSF says its destruction is “catastrophic for the population”.

Hospital operations were suspended in January after ongoing insecurity forced 240 locally-hired MSF staff to abandon the facility and flee into the bush, taking with them doens of the most seeverely ill patients.

Earlier the same month, MSF staff in Bentiu were forced to relocate to Leer town amid security fears after its healthcare facility in the Unity state capital was looted by rebel fighters.

According to MSF, its local staff in Leer remain hidden in the bush, struggling to treat patients with rapidly dwindling supplies. The staff report they have been forced to reuse wound dressings, while patients in their care have become ill from drinking dirty river water and eating water lilies due to a lack of food.

“MSF is exploring every avenue to provide healthcare to the displaced and resupply its staff,” the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

Widespread conflict has engulfed South Sudan after initial clashes erupted in the capital, Juba, on 15 December between rival factions of the presidential guards. Both sides have been accused of committing atrocities and violence has continued despite a ceasefire agreement signed on 23 January in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The targeting of medical and humanitarian facilities has become a disturbing trend since conflict erupted, says MSF, adding that its work in the country has become increasingly undermined by a “climate of utter disrespect and fear”.

“Rather than safe havens for treatment, hospitals are now targets of attack and brutality. They are places to fear rather than trust, a complete inversion of their purpose and role,” MSF’s head of mission, Raphael Gorgeu, said on Wednesday.


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  • 26 February 2014 15:11, by Robot

    This is ridiculous, if Churches r also target how can they (rebels) spare hospitals?, killing medical staffs and destroying facilities degrades the whole claim of imposing the so called Splm in opposition’s agenda of fighting this meaningless war. Something ought to be done.

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    • 26 February 2014 16:30, by what the hell

      Those people are not human animals are better than them where in this world can you killed people in the hospital.Mr Riek will never step foot in the government he nose what happened to George Athour. That is the end of greedy of politicians who never reason.he deserve to die in the bush south sudan is better without him.

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      • 26 February 2014 17:01, by Gat Gan Kiir

        Remember when government forces and it’s allied captured Leer county, the burn all village to harsher and killed any living thing on it. When Kiir invited Ugandan, Rwandan, JEM, SPLA. N and now Kenyan forces who do you think they came for and kill? Only Nuer who still breathing on earth. Let me tell you this no single stone will be left unturned. If you bring all freiregners to kill Nuer

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      • 26 February 2014 17:07, by Tibs

        Why so-call MSF failed to mentioned or condemned Riak terrorist for killing in MLK Tech. Hospital? Raik terrorist are in control of Malakal!They killed patients & burned malnutric children as the did in Bor Hospital....

        repondre message

        • 26 February 2014 18:36, by Adodi Jotuwa

          Dr. Fool Riek Machar has no vision and no agenda to fight for. Now he is resting in USA comfortably in his house while his forces are killing patients in hospital or wherever they took refuge. Western world is beginning to get disappointed with Dr. Fool Riek who believes that his turn to rule has come. No way. Nasir will soon be SPLA HQs and the monitoring team will visit it.

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          • 26 February 2014 18:49, by Adodi Jotuwa

            If Obama Administration is playing with SPLA , he will lose because the same Americans who supported SPLA are closely watching Obama’s move in Irag, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somali, Egypt, and Ukraine. The same that is needed needed in South Sudan is needed in Obama Administration now before elections of 2016. If not let Dr. Fool Riek wait for elections if he feels that he can beat President Salva Kiir

            repondre message

            • 26 February 2014 18:59, by Adodi Jotuwa

              Bravo M7 for signing anti-gay law. If Obama is serious, he should divorce Michelle now and start feeling how that shit gets into g his ass. US Democrats are full of gays and Lesbians. The bad thing Obama likes pushy. Why?

              repondre message

              • 26 February 2014 19:11, by Adodi Jotuwa

                That is the difference not between Democrats and Republicans but between Democrats and Democracy. Even the Democrats know that No American President will be gay or lesbian. But Democrats want to export it to Asia, Africa and the Third World ignoring why God created Adam and Eve. Why not Adam and Adam or Eve and Eve? Obama needs to answer this vital question.

                repondre message

                • 26 February 2014 19:21, by Adodi Jotuwa

                  Being gay or lesbian is never a sure way of controlling world population if you feel that you are designated by god to feed the world or be a multimillionaire. God is not crazy to creat Adam and Eve.

                  repondre message

                  • 26 February 2014 19:42, by Adodi Jotuwa

                    Democrats don’t want call it human rights (1948) although gays and lesbians walk on two feet. They managed to define it in American politics and want to export to the other part of the world without clear definition whether it’s God’s given rights or human rights. Thus, gay or lesbian could be nominal human or just homo sapien.

                    repondre message

                    • 26 February 2014 19:55, by Adodi Jotuwa

                      Sorry, democrats managed to define gay or lesbian rights in partisan politics to win elections. Gay and lesbian have become a decisive factor of winning elections in US politics. The good game is that gay and lesbian are born of human not of a gay or lesbian. Democrats are probably aiming for the end of human beings on this planet.

                      repondre message

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