Sudan: ICRC cares for wounded from Darfur fighting

A rapidly deteriorating security situation in Southern Darfurhas prompted the ICRC to deploy a surgical team to care for the wounded. Armed clashes in and around the town of Gereidaon 3 and 4 June resulted in the death of at least 17 civilians, with dozens more wounded. There was an unknown number of casualties among the combatants. An ICRC mobile surgical team is now in the town performing life-saving operations on civilian victims.

The surgical team sent to Gereida is a quick-response mobile unit set up by the ICRC for difficult-to-reach areas of Darfur. The four-member team is now operating out of the town's hospital, where it is working closely with local staff and providing them with medical supplies. All efforts are focused on the most urgent cases. The team comprises a surgeon, an anaesthetist, a surgical nurse and a nurse for post-operative care.

The fighting in early June occurred between the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), rebel groups normally considered allies. It caused more than 25,000 people - all previously uprooted from their villages by the conflict - to flee their makeshift camps in Gereida to the relative safety of the surrounding bush. They were able to begin returning to the camps only after two days when the situation showed signs of calming down. The Gereida area has suffered greatly from the consequences of the conflict and the ICRC has maintained a constant presence there since August 2004. Its priority is to provide water, sanitation, food and health care for the growing population in the camps.

Fighting between the SLAand the JEM is a new development in the Darfur crisis. To spare the civilian population still further suffering, it is essential that international humanitarian law be complied with by all those involved in hostilities. The ICRC calls on the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to respect the principle of proportionality in all military operations. It stresses that all necessary precautions must be taken to spare civilian lives and property and to ensure that the wounded have access to adequate medical facilities.

For further information, please contact:
Paul Conneally, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 912 170576 (mobile)
For Arabic media, Adil Sherif, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 912 161493 (mobile)
Marco YuriJiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2271