SOUTH SUDAN: Fighting in Malakal leaves at least 18 dead, including 2 MSF staff

MSF teams treat dozens of wounded people after outbreak of violence in Malakal Protection of Civilian site.

Friday, February 19, 2016 — Juba, 18th February – After fighting erupted on Wednesday night in the Malakal Protection of Civilian (PoC) site in Malakal, at least 18 people are now confirmed dead, two of them MSF South Sudanese staff members who were attacked in their shelters. MSF’s 50-bed hospital inside the PoC received 36 wounded people, including an MSF staff member. More casualties continue to arrive.

The fighting continued for three hours, forcing around 600 people, mostly women and children, to seek safety inside MSF’s hospital. MSF teams worked through the night to treat the injured. At least 25 people suffered gunshot wounds, eight of whom required surgery.

“This attack on civilians is outrageous and we demand that armed groups stop these actions,” said Marcus Bachmann, coordinator of MSF projects in South Sudan. “People came to the PoC looking for protection and this should be a sanctuary respected by all parties.”

People have been sheltering in the PoC site in Malakal since conflict erupted in the area in December 2013. Many have arrived without possessions from areas where no aid has been received for months. Approximately 40,000 people are currently in the site, more than double from the previous year, following an influx of 10,000 displaced people in April and a further 16,000 in July and August.

MSF operates a 50-bed hospital in Malakal inside the Protection of Civilian (PoC), including a 24-hour emergency room, as well as a separate emergency room.. MSF has been working in the region that today constitutes the Republic of South Sudan since 1983. MSF employs more than 2,937 South Sudanese staff and 329 international staff to respond to a wide range of medical emergencies and provide free, high quality healthcare in 18 projects across seven of South Sudan's 10 states and the Abyei Special Administrative Area.