Doctors Without Borders in Sudan warned Friday that it may end operations at a hospital in the capital, Khartoum, after 18 of its workers were “aggressively assaulted,” as conflict rages in the country.
The medical aid group, commonly known by its French acronym MSF, said the team was transporting medical supplies to Turkish Hospital in southern Khartoum Thursday when unidentified armed men attacked its staff, “physically beating and whipping them,” the aid organization said in a statement.
The men also threatened to kill an MSF driver before releasing him and taking off with the vehicle.
Christophe Garnier is MSF’s emergency manager for Sudan. Speaking to VOA Friday, he denounced the attack as “unacceptable” and “very concerning.”
He said the aid group may be forced to end services at the hospital in order to protect its staff.
“If an incident like this happens again and if our ability to move supplies continues to be obstructed, then, regrettably, our presence in the Turkish Hospital will soon become untenable,” Garnier said in a statement.
He said that the armed men who attacked the aid workers appeared drunk and that it wasn’t clear which of Sudan’s warring parties they belonged to.
Forces from the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have been battling for control of the country since hostilities erupted on April 15.
Sudanese authorities say over 3,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
As the humanitarian situation continues to worsen, the United Nations said as of July 14, more than 3 million people have been displaced, including 2.4 million within Sudan.
MSF’s Garnier called on officials to avoid targeting humanitarian workers and civilians. He said they are not a party to the conflict and “shouldn't be involved in the conflict,” urging all sides to guarantee the safety of aid workers and ensure access to vulnerable populations.
The Turkish Hospital in southern Khartoum is one of the few hospitals still administering medical care in the country.
This story originated in VOA’s English to Africa Service.