Red Cross 'grief-stricken' by deadly attack on Sudan convoy
The convoy, consisting of three ICRC vehicles and three buses, all marked with the Red Cross, was due to evacuate more than 100 vulnerable civilians from the Sudanese capital to Wad Madani when it came under attack upon entering the evacuation area, the organisation said in a statement.
The attack took place in the Al-Shajara neighbourhood.
The seven injured - including three ICRC staff members - were taken to hospital.
"This attack is unacceptable, and we are grief-stricken," said Pierre Dorbes, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.
"Our mission today was to bring these civilians to safety. Instead, lives have been tragically lost. My heart goes out to the loved ones of the people killed, and we desperately hope those injured will make a full recovery."
The ICRC said the operation had been requested by and coordinated with the parties to the conflict, who gave their agreement and provided the necessary security guarantees.
"The war in Sudan had become a war of attrition, so the RSF decided to expand its control in their hinterland of Darfur while attacking strategic military bases in Khartoum"— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 21, 2023
How the Darfur massacres mark a grim turning point in Sudan's war: https://t.co/WTxj05z9ZB
Since April, forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have been at war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
More than 12,000 people have been killed, according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict and Event Data Project, while the UN says nearly 6.8 million have been forced to flee their homes.
The Geneva-based ICRC said Sunday's operation had been intended to evacuate civilians - including the sick, children, orphans, and the elderly - from an area of intense fighting.
"As a neutral intermediary, the ICRC stands ready to continue such evacuations in Sudan, provided the parties to the conflict respect the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, which must never be targeted," it said.