Sudan army accused of using chemical weapons in Darfur
Cairo — Amnesty International accused the Sudanese military on Thursday of using chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, in one of the most remote corners of the Darfur region over the past eight months.
The Britain-based Human rights group said it had gathered “horrific evidence” including satellite imagery, more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors, and expert analysis of dozens of images in an investigation that suggests at least 30 chemical attacks took place in the Jebel Marra area.
“The scale and brutality of these attacks is hard to put into words,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s director of crisis research. “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 breath and vomiting blood.”
Amnesty estimates that the chemical weapon use it documented may have killed some 200 to 250 people, with many or most being children.
Darfur has been witness to bloodshed since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination and neglect. The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.
A recent United Nations report, seen Tuesday by The Associated Press, says the Sudanese government continues to violate sanctions imposed by the Security Council over their actions in Darfur.
The report reported violations of the arms embargo, the use of cluster bombs by the Sudanese government and the illegal transfer of intrusion software with electronic intelligence capability among other things. It also documented numerous human rights violations attributable to the government and the financing of armed groups within the country which act as proxy forces.
Sudan’s leader, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocities in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in 2009 for crimes against humanity and war crimes and added genocide to the charges against him in 2010.