MSF withdraws help from two Sudan states

'Military operations are prioritised over humanitarian assistance'

KHARTOUM - Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced Thursday its withdrawal from two conflict-hit Sudanese states, saying the government had made it impossible to provide help.
"Because of the multiple denials of access, obstructions and blockages from the Sudanese authorities, the Brussels-based section of MSF has been forced to leave Sudan," it said.
Two other MSF branches continue to operate in Sudan but the Brussels-based arm was the only one working in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. It was also present in southern Darfur.
"The Sudanese government systematically makes it impossible for MSF to provide medical care in Blue Nile State, East Darfur State and South Darfur State, where we are desperately needed," the group said.
MSF's decision follows an air strike last week in which it said a government warplane bombed a hospital in South Kordofan, where ethnic minority rebels are fighting Khartoum.
The January 23 raid on the MSF-run hospital in Frandala in the Nuba Mountains wounded two people, it said.
The bombing "is a stark reminder of the government's attitude to international humanitarian presence in Sudan's conflict areas," Beatrice Debut of MSF said in a statement.
"NGOs' access to populations affected by conflict in Blue Nile State and southern Darfur will be blocked and restricted as long as military operations are prioritised over humanitarian assistance," she said.
Fighting erupted in South Kordofan in 2011 when rebels formerly allied with now independent South Sudan took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.