The incident, which occurred in the Al-Shajara neighborhood, claimed the lives of two people and injured seven more including three ICRC staff members. The injured have been rushed to hospital for medical treatment.
The humanitarian convoy, consisting of three ICRC vehicles and three buses, all clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem, was due to evacuate over a hundred vulnerable civilians from Khartoum to Wad Madani when it came under attack upon entering the evacuation area.
The humanitarian operation had been requested by and coordinated with the parties to the conflict, who gave their agreement and provided the necessary security guarantees.
“This attack is unacceptable, and we are grief-stricken”, said Pierre Dorbes, the head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. “I am shocked by the total disrespect for the Red Cross emblem, which must be respected and protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. 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.”
As a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization, the ICRC implements its role of neutral intermediary independently from the parties to the conflict. Sunday’s operation to evacuate civilians – including the sick, children, orphans, and the elderly – from an area of intense fighting in Khartoum has been cancelled until a fresh security assessment can be made.
The ICRC calls for the immediate protection of all civilians, including humanitarian workers and medical personnel. They must never be directly attacked. Moreover, civilians trapped in areas of fighting must be allowed safe passage from conflict zones and the fighting parties must facilitate this. 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.
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