AFRICA/SUDAN - Chemical weapons used in Darfur? "Investigations need to be carried out", says an expert to Fides

Friday, 30 September 2016 weapons  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - Between 200 and 250 people, mostly children, were killed in the course of several chemical attacks launched by the Sudanese armed forces in Sudan. This was denounced in a report by Amnesty International. "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, Amnesty International indicates that at least 30 likely chemical attacks have taken place in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January 2016", says a statement of the humanitarian organization.
"Amnesty International conducted 235 phone interviews for the report. The group said local intermediaries helped to identify and contact survivors. The interviews were extensive and lasted from 30 to 120 minutes. Many people were interviewed more than once".
"One must assess exactly what happened on site" said to Fides prof. Maximum Amorosi, an expert on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear non-proliferation (CBRN) and Professor of Introduction to Strategic Analysis at the Link Campus University in Rome. "Inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and of the World Health Organization need to be sent.
It is not easy, because agreements with all parties in conflict are needed to allow inspectors access to the site, in order to collect soil samples and the blood of the victims. Sometimes two different teams must be sent to compare the results of samples taken at different times, in the alleged attacked site".
"Even videos can be touched up, while we need to go on site to interview survivors and check the condition of the wounded. The satellite images are useful for documenting attacks with conventional weapons but almost useless with regards to chemical weapons", continues Amorosi. "The previous Syrian attack tells us that in 2013 there was a sophisticated and effective attack in military terms, in which a high amount of sarin was probably used", concludes Amorosi. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/09/2016)

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