Report on the situation in North Darfur (El-Fasher)

On April 15, 2023, at around 11 am El Fasher residents heard the sounds of artillery fire from the western side of the city; the area where the Army Command is located, which later expanded to the area east of the market. Some of the Rapid Support Forces troops were positioned east of that area. The fighting continued for four days, as the Armed Forces were stationed around the General Command and did not move from it. They used heavy artillery on the areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, which also used heavy artillery to bombard the locations of the Armed Forces. Most of the victims were civilians due to the continued bombing in the area.

Dozens of civilians were killed and hundreds were injured, and all the hospitals were within the range of the battlefield, except for the Southern Hospital, which was operating at the initiative of civil activists. The number of victims whose families were able to bring them to El Fasher Southern Hospital was as follows:

  • On April 15-16, 2023, the death toll reached 13, and 88 civilians were injured, as a result of missiles and stray bullets in North Darfur state, according to the coordination statistics of the El Fasher Resistance Committees.
  • On April 17, 2023, the number of civilian casualties reached 10 dead and 27 wounded in the El Fasher Southern Hospital only.
  • On April 18, 2023, the number of civilian casualties reached 5 dead and an unaccounted number of wounded in the El Fasher Southern Hospital only.
  • On April 19, 2023, the number of civilian casualties reached 45 wounded in El Fasher Southern Hospital only.
  • On April 20, 2023, the number of civilian casualties reached 11 people dead in El Fasher Southern Hospital only.

According to the Director General of the Ministry of Health in the state of North Darfur, Dr. Imad Badawi Fath al-Rahman, the ministry recorded 46 dead and 383 wounded, including 13 dead and 20 wounded from Kabkabiya locality, 13 dead and 39 injured children under the age of sixteen.

The “Masaai AlHameeda (Good Offices) Initiative” for a cease-fire between the two parties was formed at the initiative of the Governor of North Darfur, Muhammad Abdel Rahman Nimr, and included:

  1. Native Administration
  2. City Watch
  3. Imams and Preachers
  4. El Fasher University Representatives
  5. Gender Representative
  6. Others…

The two parties committed to a cease-fire on 20-4-2023, and the committee identified camps for the two parties of the conflict by dividing the city of El Fasher into four sectors as follows:

  1. The armed forces are stationed in the western sector and part of the northern sector.
  2. The Rapid Support Forces are stationed in the eastern sector.
  3. Forces of the armed movements in the western sector.
  4. Police forces in the center of the city and the large market area.

A witness was also worried by the noncompliance of the parties of the conflict with the Masaai AlHameeda (Good Offices) Initiative in the cease-fire, with calls among the citizens urging them to arm themselves, and also the call made by the Governor of the Darfur region, Minni Arko Minnawi, for the citizens to arm themselves, which represents a very serious threat to the citizens due to the fragility of the social fabric and tribalism in the city. There was also an accusation against the Committee of Masaai AlHameeda Initiative from the residents of the eastern sector of the city of El Fasher due to the stationing of the Rapid Support Forces inside the neighborhoods, accusing the committee of bringing the war to them. This followed the practices that violate and degrade human rights practiced by the Rapid Support Forces in the eastern sector, which includes looting, armed robbery, occupying homes and terrorizing citizens. 

Some of the Masaai AlHameeda (Good Offices) Committee members submitted their resignation, and some in a meeting with the committee, were subjected to violations inside El Fasher local buildings by the Rapid Support Forces. Those violations included beatings, robbing their phones, and burning the locality. 

As the clashes stopped, the city witnessed relative stability in terms of security and services. Nevertheless, random shootings resulted in the death and wounding of civilians, did not stop, nor did the violations of the Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces against citizens in El Fasher, including arrests, theft, looting and occupation of citizens’ homes.

The warring parties did not abide by the ceasefire, and fighting resumed again from the 25th to 27th of May 2023. This military escalation resulted in five deaths and 26 civilians injured.

Violations of the armed forces in the city of El Fasher

  • Extrajudicial killing of civilians by targeting residential neighborhoods with heavy artillery
  • Arresting civilians on charges of affiliation to the Rapid Support Forces
  • Occupation of health facilities and turning them into military bases
  • Restricting the movement of citizens
  • Intimidating and robbing the homes of Arab groups in the western neighborhoods of El Fasher
  • Expelling the families of the RSF officers from their military housing and looting their property.

Violations of the rapid support forces in the city of El Fasher

  • Extrajudicial killing of civilians by targeting residential neighborhoods with heavy artillery
  • Arresting civilians on charges of belonging to military intelligence
  • Arresting civilians on charges of belonging to military intelligence
  • Occupying health facilities and turning them into military bases
  • Restricting the movement of citizens
  • Stationing within the neighborhoods of the eastern sector of the city of El Fasher
  • Occupation of citizens’ homes
  • Looting commercial convoys coming from the Libyan Republic
  • Three neighborhoods were completely robbed, and they are: Kafut, Hawara, and Al-Ma’hed neighborhoods.

An eyewitness who volunteers in one of the operational hospitals says, “When we go out in the hospital vehicle, it is equipped with a sticker explaining the nature of our work and that we are a support committee affiliated with the Al-Bani hospital. We are searched in a very precise manner in the areas controlled by the army, and any person with a light skin color is harassed in the vehicle which we use as an ambulance and to provide medical supplies. One of the volunteers who has light skin, was clearly targeted and accused of being affiliated with the Rapid Support Forces, and he continues saying that a person from the street was arrested in front of him because of his light skin”. These same violations are practiced in the areas of the Rapid Support Forces; the witness indicates that these violations also occur in areas where the Rapid Support Forces are stationed. The witness added that in areas controlled by the army, if your skin color is red (light), then this constitutes a problem, and in areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, if your skin color is green (dark), then this constitutes a problem.

The armed forces practiced human rights violations, especially against the Arab groups that live in the first degree neighborhood, where they robbed homes and displaced residents, and the families of the rapid support officers were also expelled from the army’s residence.

Basic services in the city of El Fasher

  • Power outages in most parts of the city
  • Water supply is cut off from most of the city’s neighborhoods
  • Unavailability of stable communication services in most of the city’s neighborhoods

An eyewitness told the Sudanese Human Rights Group (Huqooq) “Water is not available in our homes for more than fifty days, and we buy a barrel of water at a cost of two thousand pounds, and it is not enough for daily use.” Most of the neighborhoods of El Fasher city suffer from water scarcity, and they also buy water, and the water prices vary according to their proximity and distance from the water source. This is due to the great damage that occurred to the main electricity connections in the city as a result of the heavy shooting. The communication networks were also greatly damaged due to their dependence on electricity, and there is a complete lack of communications in the Rapid Support control areas. An eyewitness says that it is difficult to get communication services in the neighborhoods located near the areas of concentration of the various military forces.

From the beginning of the war until the end of its first week in the city of El Fasher, there was a single outlet to provide medical and health services to the civilian population, and the outlet was El Fasher Southern Hospital. The hospital received the dead, injured, people with chronic diseases, and all the patients of the city of El Fasher who were able to reach the hospital at a time when most people in the clash areas could not reach the hospital, which is far from the areas of clashes and also from the locations of the various military forces stationed inside the city. The hospital is secured by the people of the nearby neighborhoods, says eyewitness to Huqooq.

With regard to the stationing of military forces inside the city, the health sector and the citizens have been affected by the occupation of public hospitals by these forces. 

There are several hospitals within the Armed Forces control area:

  • Military Hospital (only military personnel are treated)
  • El Fasher Teaching Hospital (out of service): It is the largest referral hospital in the state of North Darfur and is located directly behind the leadership and turned into a military barracks for the army forces, There was an initiative from the El Fasher community to operate the hospital due to its importance and the fact that it contains medical devices necessary to save the lives of hundreds of injured people in the ongoing war. It also contains the orthopedic department, which is only available in it, but the armed forces did not allow it.
  • Saudi Hospital or El Fasher Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology (Operational): Combat vehicles of military intelligence are stationed around and inside it.

Hospitals within the RSF control area:

-Specialized Children’s Hospital (out of service): which is located east of the city and in places controlled by the Rapid Support Forces and It is a referral hospital for children inside the city that has been transformed into a military base for the Rapid Support Forces

There are also three health centers within the Rapid Support Forces areas:

-Al-Zahraa Health Center

– Hajj Awad Allah Health Center

– Al-Tadamon Health Center

Community initiatives succeeded in operating these centers, but there are security fears among citizens to go there due to the random shooting by the Rapid Support Forces and the incidents of arrests and thefts that take place from the Rapid Support Forces present in the area.

Hospitals and centers that were operated a week after the start of the war by community committees in El Fasher:

  • Saudi Hospital (Gynecology and Obstetrics)
  • Babiker Nahar Center for Internal Medicine and Children
  • Also, more than ten primary health centers have been operated within the neighborhoods, including (Al-Tadamon Health Center – Abu Shouk Health Center – Tembasi Health Center – Al-Salam Health Center for the Displaced (Abuja) El-Fasher Kidney Dialysis Center ….. etc.

Health services were somewhat available in the city of El Fasher after the first week of the war through civil and community support only. The North Darfur state government did not spend on the health sector and did not pay salaries to workers in the health sector from the beginning of the war until now. Also, there are medical supplies that were not provided by the medical supplies in the state, which are daily needs such as (life-saving medicines and chronic disease medicines – laboratory tools – laboratory solutions, “gauze … etc.) Hospitals and public health centers purchase medical supplies from the black market, which has increased the operational cost of hospitals and health centers now operating in the city of El Fasher. An eyewitness says that there is a tendency to make the service paid for in some hospitals and health centers due to the lack of resources.

Challenges facing the continued provision of services in the city of El Fasher:

  • Medication shortage
  • Shortage of medical supplies
  • Power outage
  • Shortage of fuel to run hospitals
  • Shortage of fuel for ambulance and transportation of medical personnel
  • Payment of salaries of workers in the provision of medical services
  • Shortage of food supplies for the medical staff and volunteers
  • Disposal of medical waste

There are fears that the lives of 73 patients with renal failure in El Fasher city are threatened. This number increases with the arrival of patients from the states of Darfur as well as patients from Khartoum. The center contains only 13 dialysis machines that operate with half efficiency, as the dialysis center faces an acute shortage of dialysis requirements, as it uses powder that has expired for a full year. The number of dialysis and dialysis hours has been reduced, as the patient used to do dialysis 3 times a week and it lasted for four hours, now it is one dialysis per week and it lasts for two and a half hours. There is also a crisis in providing fuel to operate the center’s generator and transporting the medical staff and workers at the center.

The driver responsible for the transportation of medical staff and workers at El Fasher Dialysis Center did not move on 27-5-2023 because the security situation is unstable, and this incident has usually been repeated since the beginning of the war, and the operation of the center falls on community committees. 

A fee was imposed from some hospitals and public centers, because the initiatives are unable to cover the operating expenses of hospitals, as well as the geographical limits for the work of medical service providers that do not exceed the borders of El Fasher city only, meaning that it does not include the rest of the state’s localities. A witness says that there is no news from the rest of El Fasher localities. and that the medical supplies did not send any kind of medicine and medical supplies to the localities.

Food and Consumer Goods

The city of El Fasher suffers from a lack of consumer goods due to the closure of 90% of the shops in the large market.

The peripheral area markets in the city of El Fasher are open, but it is noticed that they are running out of goods, given that the city relies mainly on importing goods from Khartoum, and with the beginning of the war, the process of importing goods from Khartoum stopped.

The city also imports some goods from the Libyan Republic, but it also did not reduce the consumer goods gap in the city, and some commercial convoys are subject to confiscation by the Rapid Support Forces, which are stationed on the commercial convoys road, and an eyewitness says that the Rapid Support Forces have already confiscated supplies. Coming from Libya to the city of El Fasher.

The large market is located in the center of El Fasher and is considered the main center for the city’s residents to supply consumer goods and supplies. It is under the control of the police, the armed forces and some forces of the armed movements. The market was damaged by shelling from both sides, and some shops were destroyed, and there is an almost complete closure of shops due to security concerns and theft and looting that occur in most parts of the city. Vegetables, meat and part of the goods are available in the large market. The central market was completely burned. There are some markets where there is relative security, for example, the markets in the south of the city (Al-salam Market), and there is a livestock market that also has a degree of safety with some thefts occurring in it, and it provides meat to citizens.

The strategic stock of flour was distributed to the owners of bakeries, and the price of bread increased from three loaves at a cost of 100 Sudanese pounds to one loaf at 100 Sudanese pounds. Most of the neighborhood bakeries do not work. Often, one or two bakeries operate at best within the neighborhoods, and there are long lines to get bread.

As for fuel, it is available at gas stations in the city of El Fasher, but the control of fuel disbursement is under the administration of military intelligence, and it has already doubled the prices of internal transportation in the city of El Fasher.

Also, there is not enough liquidity in the hands of the citizens, as most of the citizens of El Fasher are employees and self-employed.

Displacement and asylum:

Hundreds of families living in the eastern and northeastern sector and parts of the western sector of the city seeked refuge to schools that are located in the southern sector of the city due to the bombing, the occupation of their homes, intimidation and the theft of their property by the Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. The neighborhood is being protected by the residents of the southern sector, and they have set up shields at the entrances to the neighborhoods of the sector and have taken up arms.

The shelter centers are estimated at 13 centers that have not been recognized by the state government so far, as the Humanitarian Aid Commission has counted 12 centers so far and made a census of the number of families residing inside the centers with naming representatives of the centers and raising the necessary needs to the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner.

Most of the internally displaced are residents of the eastern sector in which the Rapid Support Forces are stationed, and some citizens of the western neighborhoods, whose right to housing were violated by the armed forces, terrorized them and stole their property.

The internally displaced persons in schools suffer from the lack of food, water, treatment, tents, tarpaulins, and blankets and mosquito nets. The number of internally displaced persons is expected to increase.

Security threats to the residents of the city of El Fasher:

  • The continuation of the war
  • Frequent military movements inside the city
  • The emergency law, which gives any member of 
  • The military forces the right to open fire without any supervision or accountability
  • Lawless actions that occur by individuals
  • Continued violations against civilians by the military forces
  • The presence of the Rapid Support Forces in the eastern sector neighborhoods
  • The North Darfur State Police does not open a complaint for any citizen, nor does it pursue criminals, knowing that the majority of police stations are still open, with a normal presence of police personnel inside the stations.
  • Wide spread of weapons among citizens
  • Theft and looting


  • The international community should pressure the parties to the conflict to cease fire and return to negotiations in order to seek a peaceful solution. And to ensure that the concerned parties abide by international humanitarian law. This includes refraining from targeting civilians, protecting civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, and avoiding the use of indiscriminate weapons against civilians.
  • The international community must support and strengthen coordination between humanitarian organizations and pressure to provide safe paths to ensure the delivery of aid to the affected areas to support humanitarian operations, meet the urgent needs of the affected population in terms of supplies and consumer resources, and provide protection for shelters for the displaced and refugees.
  • The international community must ensure that health and service facilities are not affected. And to stress to the conflicting parties their obligations under international law to protect these basic infrastructures and to refrain from targeting them.