Violence continues in Darfur as MSF treats 46 war wounded from latest attack

The patients from Labado told the MSF team that a number of people were killed during the attack. Some patients described how their husbands, children and other family members were shot down during the attack and died in front of them.

Forty-six people suffered violent injuries, including multiple gun shot wounds, in an attack on the town of Labado in southern Darfur.

The wounded arrived in a truck at the Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in the town of Muhajariya, on May 8.

"The truck backed up towards the clinic," describes MSF nurse Lisa Blaker. "When the doors of the truck opened and the tarp billowed up, I saw injured people piled on top of each other."

Of the 46 patients, 30 are civilians, including two women and four elderly men. Many of them required urgent surgery. The MSF team worked through the night operating on gunshot wounds to abdomens, shoulders, arms, legs and chests. Two patients have already died as a result of their injuries.

The patients from Labado told the MSF team that a number of people were killed during the attack. Some patients described how their husbands, children and other family members were shot down during the attack and died in front of them.

The people of Labado have experienced such violence before, including an attack in December 2004, during which the town was looted and burnt. At the time of the latest attack, there were an estimated 24,000 people living in the area. Medécins Sans Frontières has been providing medical care in Labado with a weekly mobile clinic.

The attack on Labado is another example of the insecurity that continues to plague civilians in Darfur. The MSF team in Muhajariya (120 kilometres north east of the South Darfur capital of Nyala) has had a steady influx of casualties over the last weeks, having admitted 127 patients with violent trauma in the past month alone. The 35-bed hospital is currently overflowing.

MSF logistician, Jonathan Henry, says the situation in Muhajariya is deteriorating.

"The fact that our hospital wards are full of wounded is a testament to the effects of this tragic conflict," he said. "The stories that the patients tell us are heart-wrenching. And these people are the lucky ones who made it to our hospital but we fear for those who have not yet made the journey."

MSF launched its biggest humanitarian effort in its history in 2004 to provide assistance for the people in Darfur. MSF currently has 170 international and over 2600 Sudanese staff working in 18 locations around Darfur.