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Sudan draws flak over Darfur chemical attacks

Sep 29, 2016, 6:11 AM EDT
Sudanese troops in Darfur
(Source: Kwibuka Rwanda/flickr)

A report by Amnesty International has accused the Sudanese government of launching chemical attacks on its own civilians in the remote region of Darfur. An eight-month investigation by the human rights group found that about 200 people, mostly children, have been killed by the banned weapons since January. The report states that the government, which is engaged in a bloody conflict with the Sudan Liberation Army rebels, used chemical weapons on at least 30 occasions, inflicting damage of horrifying scale and brutality.

The victims of the chemical attacks suffer breathing difficulties, vomit blood and have their skins peeling off, writes the BBC. Some of the 56 witnesses, who narrated the ordeal after chemical assaults, said that “putrid and unnatural” smoke filled the air after each spell of bombardment.

A spokesman for the Sudanese government dismissed the allegations, saying that Amnesty International has interviewed people selectively, reports The Guardian. Two independent chemical weapons experts have agreed that that the clinical signs and symptoms suggest that the victims were exposed to a class of weapon known as blister agents, or vesicants, which includes sulphur mustard, nitrogen mustard and lewisite.

The human rights watchdog has called for an independent investigation into the brutality and has urged the global community to exert pressure on Sudan to allow humanitarian agencies access to Darfur's remote population.