American doctor linked to Sudan by sick parents and devotion to treating the poor Bushra Ibnawf Suliman continued to work as much as he could after the fighting engulfed the Sudanese capital.
For several days after battles between two warring Sudanese commanders It broke out in Khartoum on April 15, 49-year-old Suliman was treating the wounded in the city. He and other doctors ventured out as explosions rocked the walls of houses where Khartoum’s residents huddled. There was a firefight in the streets between two factions fighting for control.
“Say, ‘Nothing will happen to us except what God has decreed for us,'” Suliman, a US-born gastroenterologist who splits his time and work between Iowa City, Iowa, and Khartoum, said in one of his last messages of concern friends on Facebook last week as the fight continued. “And let the believers hope in God.”
The morning Suliman decided to risk fleeing the Sudanese capital with his parents, his American wife and two American children was the morning the war caught up with Suliman, friends say.
A group of strangers surrounded him in his yard on Tuesday, stabbing him to death in front of his family, amid a spate of looting and fighting in the capital, Khartoum, a city of 5 million. Friends suspect that the motive was robbery. He was one of two Americans killed in action in Sudan, both with dual citizenship.
Authorities say the second, linked to Denver, was caught in the crossfire. The name of this American has not been released.
Mohamed Eisa, a Sudanese doctor working in the Pittsburgh area, was a close colleague of Suliman. Over the years, “sometimes I would ask him, ‘Bushra, what are you doing here?’ What are you doing in Sudan? Aiza recalled.
“He always says to me, ‘Mohammed, listen – yes, I love living in the United States … but the health care system in the United States is very strong,’ and one doctor is more or less not going to make a difference.
Eiza said Suliman would tell him: “In Sudan, everything I do has a profound effect on so many lives, so many students and so many health workers.”
The sudden illness and death of Eisa’s father in Khartoum meant that Eisa was in Sudan when the fighting began. Now trying to return to his American wife and children in the US, Eiza spoke late last week from Port Sudan, a Red Sea city now crowded with Sudanese and foreigners who have made the perilous 500-mile journey from the capital in hopes of securing places on ships. , who leave Sudan.
Eiza described the journey through checkpoints manned by armed men, past bodies lying in the streets, and past cars carrying other families killed trying to escape.
After evacuating all US diplomats and other US government personnel, the US conducted its first evacuation of private US citizens on Saturday, April 22. It used armed drones to escort buses carrying 200 to 300 US citizens, permanent residents and others to Port Sudan.
Sudanese in their country and in the United States spoke of the killing of Suliman as a special loss.
He was a respected colleague at the Gastroenterology Clinic and Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, said hospital President Tom Clancy. Suliman’s older children live in Iowa.
According to his colleagues, he returned to Sudan several times a year with the medicines he collected for that country.
A nurse at the Iowa City clinic, who declined to be identified because the nurse was not authorized to speak, called him one of the best. “His love for his patients was beyond measure,” said the nurse. His colleagues considered him a great doctor and humanitarian, a cheerful man with an infectious laugh who filled his texts with emoticons and cats in sunglasses.
In Sudan, Suliman chaired the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Khartoum and was the founder and director of the Sudan American Medical Association Physicians Humanitarian Group.
He will help organize and deliver medicine and supplies to rural Sudan, organize training for midwives in rural areas and help attract cardiologists for free surgeries.
His efforts continued after two Sudanese commanders who had previously joined forces to derail Sudan’s move towards democracy suddenly launched into an all-out power struggle.
More than 500 people have been killed in two weeks of fighting, according to Sudan’s Ministry of Health. Medics say that fighters kidnapped at least five medics and took them to treat combatants.
Suliman was one of many doctors who continued to show up at hospitals despite this, said Dr. Yasir Elamine, a Sudanese-American physician in Houston.
Suliman and other doctors in Khartoum treated the wounded, delivered babies and provided other emergency care until it became too dangerous for him to leave his home.
According to colleagues, Suliman was unable to leave Khartoum because of concerns that his father was being taken away from needed dialysis.
On Tuesday, he decided he would take his father to dialysis and then try to escape Khartoum with his family, he told friends.
The man surrounded him before he could leave. They stuck a knife in his chest. His fellow doctors at Soba Hospital in Khartoum, where he worked, could not save him.
In Washington, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressed his “deepest condolences” to Suliman’s family.
“There is nothing. Nothing,” Eiza, his counterpart in Sudan, said of Suliman’s killing before finally finding passage over the weekend on a ship from Sudan.
“Do you know who you killed?” another Sudanese colleague, Hisham Omar, shared a Facebook tribute to the country’s medical workers in a message aimed at the attackers who killed Suliman.
“You have killed thousands of patients,” this colleague wrote, speaking of the impact Suliman — a single doctor — knew he had made in Sudan and all the Sudanese he would help in the years to come. “You have killed thousands of people who are in need. You killed thousands of his students.’