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New research reveals that the Sudanese government has been using chemical weapons against the people in Darfur.
A 103-page report titled “Scorched Earth, Poisoned Air” released by Amnesty International on Thursday provides “credible evidence” of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Jebel Marra, a distant area of Darfur. Satellite imagery, satellites and testimony of survivors reveal the territory has been under attack at least 30 times in 2016 alone, resulting in 250 casualties.
Most of the victims were babies and small children and the most recent of these suspected attacks occurred on September 9.
Amnesty said witnesses told them the bombs were dropped from planes and the smoke from the weapons changed color between five and 20 minutes after impact. The report alleges some people died right away while others suffered from horrifying symptoms of poisoning. People’s skin hardened and then fell off in patches; some struggled to breathe, others suffered blisters, vomited up blood, had diarrhea and experienced vision loss.
“Babies screaming with pain before dying, young children vomiting blood — the images we have seen are truly shocking,” Amnesty International's director of crisis response Tirana Hassan said in the chilling report.
The war in Darfur started in 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against the government in Khartoum over grievances about land and oppression. At first, the government countermeasures targeted the insurgents but soon expanded to attack tribes that were suspected to be in association with the rebels.
By 2008, the United Nations estimated that around 300,000 people may have died in the conflict — the figures have risen since then.
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged with crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes and has an outstanding arrest warrant from Hague. However, government officials vehemently deny the allegations.
"The allegations of use of chemical weapons by Sudanese Armed Forces is baseless and fabricated," Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed, Sudan's U.N. ambassador, said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.
Yet Amnesty International insists its report consists of damning evidence against al-Bashir and has requested the United Nations launch an investigation into the matter.