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Sudanese army bombs MSF hospital in S. Kordofan

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January 23, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army (SAF) has bombed a hospital in South Kordofan state run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), forcing the organization to suspend its medical activities.

MSF's hospital in South Kordofan's Frandala village has twice been targeted by the Sudanese air force (Photo courtesy of MSF)In a statement released on Friday, MSF said Tuesday’s incident marks the second time the Sudanese air force has targeted its hospital in the rebel-held village of Frandala since June 2014.

“Repeated and targeted bombings in the region prevent the safe operation of medical activities, depriving the local population of lifesaving care,” MSF said in announcing it had suspended its operations in the area.

According to MSF, a SAF fighter jet “dropped a cluster of 13 bombs, two of which landed inside the hospital compound. The others struck just outside the hospital fence”.

There were around 150 patients and staff members in the hospital when the bombing occurred.

The hospital sustained major damage in the attack, with one patient and an MSF staffer also wounded.

“Today there can be no doubt that this was a deliberate and targeted bombing on a civilian hospital structure and part of a strategy to terrorise the community,” said MSF head of mission Marc Van der Mullen.

One patient died and several were wounded during the first bombing on Frandala hospital last June.

MSF says the Sudanese government has been informed of MSF’s presence in the area and is aware of the location of the hospital.

UN CONDEMNS ATTACK

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a statement expressing “deep concern” after reports of the bombing emerged.

OCHA said that the targeting of medical facilities is a “serious violation of customary international humanitarian law”.

“The UN continues to call on all parties in the conflict in Sudan to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular in relation to the protection of civilians and to ensure safe, timely and unhindered access to humanitarian organisations,” the statement said.

Frandala hospital was opened in 2012, one year after the start of the underreported conflict in South Kordofan. Since then, MSF says almost 80,000 consultations have been performed, while close to 4,000 hospital admissions had been received.

(ST)

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