President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has dismissed Amnesty International’s claims that the Sudanese government used chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur as lies.
This is based on a report Amnesty International released last month. The report accused the Sudanese government of repeatedly using lethal chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur which have killed about 250 people, including children who vomit blood and watch as their skin falls off.
Amnesty International is reported to have said:
“Between 200 and 250 people may have died as a result of exposure to the chemical weapons agents, with many or most being children.”
Amnesty also posted pictures showing children in devastating conditions. There were also satellite images of destroyed villages caused by the war.
At the time the statement was released, Sudan’s UN ambassador Omer Dahab Dadl Mohammed said the allegations were “baseless and fabricated”.
President Omar al-Bashir made his first statement on the accusations in an address to workers of his National Congress Party.
“In the past few days you have been following all the lies and allegations made by Amnesty International about use of chemical weapons,” Bashir said. “These are just empty lies.”
Regardless of the statements of President Bashir and ambassador Mohammed, Sudan – which is a signatory to the chemical weapons convention – has the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) seeking further evidence in order to launch an official investigation into the claims.
Sudan’s western region of Darfur has been trapped in conflict since 2003. This has resulted in the death of more than 300 000 people and the displacement of more than 2.5 million.
Before the release of this report, President Bashir was declared wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the crimes perpetrated against civilians in Darfur. Bashir, however, denies the claims. He has also called for the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur to be brought to an end as the crisis has allegedly ended.
Nonetheless, foreign diplomats say more work needs to be done in Darfur due to the high internal displacement.