Hundreds of babies and children rescued from Khartoum orphanage amid Sudan fighting

ICRC received security guarantees from warring sides before the operation

Hundreds of children rescued from orphanage in Sudan

Hundreds of children rescued from orphanage in Sudan
Powered by automated translation

Hundreds of babies and children in Khartoum have been rescued by the Red Cross, six weeks after they were trapped in their orphanage by the fighting in Sudan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross also rescued 70 support staff from the Mygoma Orphanage in Khartoum on Wednesday, at the request of Sudan's Ministry of Social Development.

The children, the eldest of whom were 15, travelled in a convoy of cars to Wad Madani, about 200km south of Khartoum.

The ICRC obtained security guarantees from the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to ensure safe passage.

"Knowing these children are safe is an enormous relief,” said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.

“They spent incredibly difficult moments in an area where the conflict has been raging for the past six weeks without access to proper health care, an especially hard situation for children with special needs.”

Some of the children have experienced mental health difficulties after the ordeal, Mr Sandoz said.

The children are now in the care of ministry staff.

Fighting between the army and RSF has taken a heavy toll on civilians, and children have not been spared from the conflict.

More than 860 civilians, including 190 children, have been killed since the conflict broke out on April 15, the Sudan Doctors Union has said. The true toll is expected to be far higher.

In the two months since the fighting began, at least 50 children, including more than 24 babies, have died at Mygoma.

The orphanage has been struggling to find carers and medical staff, leaving its residents vulnerable to malnutrition, dehydration and sepsis.

“The safe movement of these incredibly vulnerable children to a place of safety offers a ray of light in the midst of the ongoing conflict in Sudan,” said Mandeep O’Brien, the representative for the UN children's fund in Sudan.

“Many millions of children remain at risk across Sudan."

Several ceasefires have been announced, with the latest truce – mediated by the US and Saudi Arabia – having expired on June 3. Indirect talks are taking place in Jeddah, the countries said on Tuesday.

Updated: June 08, 2023, 12:45 PM