Norway condemns bombing of hospital in Sudan

‘The fact that a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in Sudan has been bombed by the country’s own military forces is deeply worrying. Attacks of this kind are completely unacceptable and in violation of international law,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

On 20 January, a hospital operated by Médecins Sans Frontières was hit during an attack carried out by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF) on the village of Frandala in South Kordofan. According to Médecins Sans Frontières, one patient and one member of staff were injured in the attack, and there was significant damage to the hospital. Around 150 patients and staff were at the hospital at the time of the attack, and Médecins Sans Frontières has been forced to suspend its medical activities there until further notice. The same hospital was bombed in a similar attack in June 2014. Norway also condemned that attack. 

‘We expect the Sudanese authorities to launch an investigation into this attack immediately to find out what happened, and to hold those responsible to account,’ said Mr Brende. 

The conflict in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile has lasted for almost four years, and has had a terrible impact on the civilian population in the area. According to the UN, two million people have been severely affected by the conflict. As a direct result of the fighting, over half a million people have been internally displaced, and a quarter of a million people have fled across the border to South Sudan and Ethiopia. 

‘All violence against civilians must be stopped. The Government of Sudan bears a particular responsibility to protect the country’s civilian population. We call on the Sudanese authorities to grant humanitarian access to the local population wherever they are in need of assistance, including in the rebel-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. It is crucial that all parties to the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, and that they take steps to find a peaceful solution,’ said Mr Brende. 

There are massive humanitarian needs in other parts of Sudan, too, following many years of violence and armed conflict. According to the UN, about 400 000 people were forced to flee their homes in the Darfur region last year. Altogether, there are 3.1 million internally displaced people in the country, and 6.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.