In order to aid the humanitarian response in Sudan, Insecurity Insight has been conducting ongoing social media monitoring to gauge sentiments towards the aid sector. The purpose of this monitoring is to contribute to the development of risk management and communication strategies for aid agencies, particularly as social media use is on the rise in crisis-affected countries.
This article presents the findings of a qualitative sentiment analysis regarding an attack on an MSF convoy in southern Khartoum that took place on July 20, 2023. The analysis focused on social media comments and revealed the sentiments and opinions of predominantly male users, mainly located in Khartoum, who support the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the military government. It was evident from their comments that this group reacted negatively to MSF’s neutral description of the attackers as “armed men,” presuming them to be members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Among these social media users who actively engaged with comments related to the attack on MSF, several viewpoints emerged:
- Approximately 31 users expressed the belief that MSF “deserved” to be attacked the RSF.
- About 13 users alleged that MSF collaborated with the RSF or its supporters.
- Approximately 19 users issued direct online threats against MSF.
It is important to note that these views are not representative of opinions held other groups involved in the conflict but rather reflect the sentiments shared among those in proximity to the SAF.
Further analysis and monitoring of social media sentiments can provide valuable insights to aid agencies, allowing them to better understand public perceptions and tailor their risk management and communication strategies accordingly.
- Sentiment analysis: The process of determining the emotional tone or sentiment expressed in a text, such as social media comments.
- Social media monitoring: The practice of tracking and analyzing social media channels to gain insights into public opinions and interests.
- Rapid Support Forces (RSF): A paramilitary force in Sudan.
- Sudan Armed Forces (SAF): The regular military force of Sudan.
- MSF: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), an international humanitarian organization.
Sources: Insecurity Insight