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Reference : V-F-CR-F-03697-A
Date : 27/07/2023
Country/Region : SUDAN; CHAD
Title : Gunshot victims recount the intensity of the fighting in Darfur.
Duration : 00:05:50
Cameraman : unknown
Editor : unknown
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Production company : ICRC
Commissioned production company : Factstory
ICRC producer :
Description : For several weeks, gunshot victims fleeing Sudan have been streaming into Abéché in eastern Chad. Our teams there have heard accounts from some of the victims, who have described the intensity of the fighting. Thousands of families are fleeing armed clashes any way they can amid the chaos. A number of people, now being cared for in Chad, have told how they were shot at as they tried to escape and had their belongings stolen. There are also tensions between those who have been displaced and the local communities they flee to.

Idriss Yaya Annour Ahmat was shot in the leg by a lone sniper and sought refuge in a village near El Geneina. “I’d only just got there when the residents told me that I wasn’t welcome. I told them that my leg was broken. They got me back on my feet and let me fall over. My partial fracture is now a major one. They strapped me to a donkey and led me out of the village. Then they abandoned me. I spent two days in a hole. On the third day, a woman searching for firewood found me.”

Idriss Yaya Annour Ahmat is now recovering from his injuries in the University Hospital Centre in Abéché, Chad’s third largest city. He is one of 23 patients that the surgical team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has treated since 29 June 2023 when it started working out of the hospital as part of its war surgery programme. Since then, many patients have been operated on in challenging conditions, with each patient requiring, on average, seven to eight procedures.

The needs are huge, but the hospital is short of everything: water, electricity, medicines and beds. The medical team and volunteers from the Chad Red Cross set up makeshift beds in the corridors of the hospital, which was built to accommodate 150 patients. The number of patients is now five times that figure.

“Even though we’re in a relatively big hospital, in a big city, we feel like we’re just in a field hospital,” says Dr Kaleb Abraha Redie, an ICRC doctor who specializes in war surgery. “There are days when we have had to operate with headlamps. We need powerful lights to operate, but we don’t have them.”

It is estimated that, since April, more than 270,000 people fleeing Sudan have sought refuge in Chad, including 20,000 people who came last week alone. The vast majority are women and children.

Like many mothers, Niemat Ebid Abdullah Abbas risked her own life to save her children. She was shot in the hip as she tried to escape. Her emotions are evident as she recalls what happened: “Suddenly, I felt something enter my hip and I fell. My son walked for two or three metres. He came to help me and I told him to go, so that he at least could live. He said: ‘You are my mom, how can I leave you behind?’ Then he carried me to a safe place.”

Our teams in Abéché have noticed that people’s physical wounds often belie their psychological scars, a result of the violent fighting they have endured in Sudan. Diéré Badji, an ICRC nurse, was puzzled by the incessant crying of a seven-year-old girl when changing her dressings. “She was shouting: ‘Baba! Baba!’; she was saying ‘Papa’. The mother told me that the girl’s father was dead. It was heart-wrenching. These people have lived through so much. They’ve crossed one country and fled to safety in another. They need to be comforted and reassured.”

With the rainy season and seasonal flooding on the way, the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad is set to become even more complex in the weeks ahead. The bad weather could exacerbate the situation for displaced people and hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid – at a time when people’s needs are increasing with each day that passes.

The ICRC reminds all parties that, under international humanitarian law, civilians must not be attacked and they must be protected at all times.
Original language : International soundtrack
French title : Les blessés par balles racontent la violence des combats au Darfour.
English title : Gunshot victims describe the violence in Darfur.
Colour/B&W : colour
Resolution : 1080 x 1920
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Original material/format : H264
Best material/format available : ProRes 422