Doctors Without Borders said its members were forced to record a video in support of a Sudanese militia in order to reach people in need of aid.
People working for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Sudan were coerced into making a propaganda video in support of the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the humanitarian organization said on Saturday.
MSF said its employees had been “obliged” to make a statement that was later circulated by the paramilitary group, which consists of militias with tens of thousands of fighters and has been fighting the Sudanese army for the last two months.
RSF released footage on Friday showing a uniformed man with a group of MSF employees. “Have you been the subject of illegal acts, extortion, threats or violence by RSF personnel?” the man asks, according to the accompanying subtitles.
One MSF worker replies that humanitarian laws are respected and that they are able to work without interference.
MSF ‘not allied’ with any party
But this has since been contradicted by MSF.
“MSF teams responded to the questions reaffirming MSF’s humanitarian principles: we are not allied with any of the parties to the conflict and our sole objective is to support conflict-affected populations in need of medical assistance,” MSF said. “Vital humanitarian assistance must not be instrumentalized.”
Two months ago, fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the country’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), over the planned integration of the latter into the former.
Nearly 1.6 million people have been displaced since the conflict started, according to aid agencies.
After repeatedly breaking cease-fires, the warring parties agreed to make a renewed attempt at a 24-hour cease-fire on Saturday, as of 6 a.m. local time (0400 GMT).
jsi/sms (Reuters, dpa)