Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir U.S. Navy

The government of Sudan has been carrying out multiple attacks using chemical weapons against its own civilians in what may amount to a war crime, according to a report issued today by Amnesty International.

Amnesty's investigation lead the organization to conclude that at least 30 chemical attacks have been carried out by government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur since January 2016, killing between 200-250 people, including many children. The most recent attack is alleged to have occurred on September 9, 2016.

Hundreds more survived the attacks but developed symptoms including skin that changed color, rotted, hardened, and fell off, eye problems including a complete loss of vision, and respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.

Amnesty stated that it carried out its investigation "using satellite imagery, more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors and expert analysis of dozens of appalling images showing babies and young children with terrible injuries."

According to eyewitnesses, the chemical agents were delivered via bombs dropped from planes and rockets. Eyewitnesses also reported that the smoke from the attacks would change color to a dark blue.

Two chemical weapons experts whom Amnesty presented its findings to concluded that vesicants, otherwise known as blister agents,were used in the attacks. This kind of chemical weapons includes mustard gas.

"This suspected use of chemical weapons represents not only a new low in the catalogue of crimes under international law by the Sudanese military against civilians in Darfur, but also a new level of hubris by the government towards the international community,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Research.

Hassan added, “The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. The evidence we have gathered is credible and portrays a regime that is intent on directing attacks against the civilian population in Darfur without any fear of international retribution.”

The allegations of attacks using chemical warfare come as the Sudanese regime is engaged in an offensive in Jebel Marra against the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW),which the government accuses of launching ambushes against soldiers and civilians alike.

The Sudanese government has denied all allegations that it used chemical weapons against civilians, dismissing all such claims as "rumours" to CNN.

Darfur has been the site of an ongoing conflict since 2003, when rebels groups took up arms against the government in Khartoum to address longstanding grievances over land and marginalization. The government responded with what many human rights groups have long termed a genocide. By 2008 the UN had estimated that 300,000 people may have been killed during the conflict in Darfur, a number that could have risen in the eight years since then.

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