Opposition: ‘Chemical warfare in Darfur could halt Sudan peace talks’
Sudanese opposition forces have strongly condemned Khartoum’s reported use of chemical weapons in Darfur.
On Thursday, Amnesty International released a report saying that Khartoum repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur’s Jebel Marra. 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, the investigation indicates that at least 30 likely chemical attacks have taken place in the Jebel Marra area since January this year.
In response to the report, the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Mubarak Ardol, told Radio Dabanga that the movement is currently discussing the option to halt the peace talks with the government.
The leader of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdelwahid El Nur stressed that the Khartoum regime “has crossed all red lines with its use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra”. He called it “a second wave of ethnic cleansing”.
El Nur called on the armed movements negotiating a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, “to stop talking with the Khartoum and join forces in order to uproot this regime”.
The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) confirmed the government’s use of internationally banned weapons “on a very large scale in Darfur. This again proves that Khartoum is repeatedly ignoring international treaties,” JEM spokesman Jibril Adam Bilal told this station.
The Sudanese opposition forces have urged the UN, the AU, and the international community not only to put an end to the use of forbidden weapons, and prevent the import of such arms, but also to conduct a thorough investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.
The Sudanese government has dismissed the accusations as “tendentious claims”. The Under-Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Abdelghani El Naeem, told the Sudane News Agency (SUNA) in Khartoum on Saturday that the report by Amnesty International is “full of baseless allegations”. He claimed that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has dismissed the report as well.
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