A report by Amnesty International alleges a horrific use of chemical weapons by the Sudanese government which has affected about a dozen Sudanese children.
The group claims that the dozens of Sudanese children are among over 200 people estimated to have lost their lives as the government employed the deadly banned weapons since January.
Even as the Sudanese government has been swift with a rebuttal claiming that the allegations are baseless, Amnesty paints a gruesome picture alleging that those affected by the poisonous smoke vomit blood, struggle to breathe and watch as their skin falls off.
Sudan’s UN Ambassador Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed was quoted by Reuters as saying;
“The allegations of use of chemical weapons by Sudanese Armed Forces is baseless and fabricated, … The ultimate objective of such wild accusation, is to steer confusion in the ongoing processes aimed at deepening peace and stability and enhancing economic development and social cohesion in Sudan.”
A long drawn out war that has lasted 13 years has been recurrent in Darfur between the government in Khartoum and rebels but the international community has stayed out of it since 2004 after warnings of a potential genocide had seemingly forced an uneasy calm in the region.
Amnesty’s director of crisis research, Tirana Hassan, says that the new report that shows the repeated attacks by the Sudanese government against their own people reveals that “nothing has changed”.
The human rights group had spread out the investigation over the use of chemical weapons on citizens including Sudanese children for over eight months. They claim to have uncovered “scorched earth, mass rapes, killings and bombs” in Jebel Marra, a remote region of Darfur. The researchers are also alleged to have found 56 witnesses to the alleged use of chemical weapons on at least 30 occasions by Sudanese forces.
Ms Hassan says:
“The scale and brutality of these attacks is hard to put into words, …The images and videos we have seen in the course of our research are truly shocking; in one a young child is screaming with pain before dying; many photos show young children covered in lesions and blisters. Some were unable to breathe and vomiting blood.”
She went on to say that “The fact that Sudan’s government is now repeatedly using these weapons against their own people simply cannot be ignored and demands action.”
To that end, Amnesty is now calling for a larger investigation, and asking other governments to apply pressure on Khartoum, in particular, to allow humanitarian agencies access to Darfur’s remote populations.