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Amnesty International accuses Sudan of chemical attacks in Darfur

UN report: The fight between Sudan's government and the rebels have been going on for 13 years, in which 300,000 killed and 2.5 million displaced. Photograph: (AFP)

WION United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, United States Sep 29, 2016, 04.28 AM (IST)


Amnesty International today accused Sudan's government of human rights violations and chemical attacks in Darfur. 


"An Amnesty International investigation has gathered horrific evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, by Sudanese government forces in one of the most remote regions of Darfur over the past eight months," Amnesty said in an official statement. 


"Between 200 and 250 people may have died as a result of exposure to the chemical weapons agents, with many or most being children," the report states according to AFP. 


Tirana Hassan, the organisation's crisis director said 32 villages are affected in Jebel Marra. Bombs and rockets containing chemicals were dropped on villages.  "Many photos show young children covered in lesions and blisters. Some were unable to breath and vomiting blood," Hassan said.


She added that "horrific burns and skin reactions to the agents... and some of the first responders and caregivers have told us that even when they touch the skin, it actually falls off in large chunks."

In a video posted by Amnesty, chemical weapons expert Jennifer Knaack said that symptoms differed suggesting various chemicals were used.  


The victims were exposed to vesicants, or blister agents, such as sulfur mustard, lewisite or nitrogen mustard, experts said. Within minutes of coming in contact with the chemicals people experienced dizziness, vomiting and skin problems. 


"When (the bomb) fell there were some flames and then dark smoke," AFP quoted a woman saying whose baby was affected in the attack. 


She said the bombing had caused vomiting, dizziness, skin problems and headaches.


"The baby is not recovering ... he is swollen ... he has blisters and wounds."


Human rights violations

Amnesty drafted a letter to the UN Human Rights Council on September 7, which states: " Civilians in South Darfur and particularly Jebel Marra continue to face attacks and abuses in 2016 by the
RSF (Rapid Support Forces) in "Operation Decisive Summer" offensives. In January 2016, the Sudanese government renewed aerial bombardments and ground attacks on presumed rebel locations."


During the RSF operations, civilians were raped, killed, beaten and their homes were burnt, according to the rights group. 


The government is not allowing humanitarian aid from reaching the affected villages, the report concluded. 


The international organisation says the attack was targeting the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, which is led by Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW). 


The fight between the Sudanese government and the rebel forces have been going on for the past 13 years, which has killed 300,000 people and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN. 


(WION with inputs from AFP)

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