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UNAMID says no evidence of chemical weapons use in Jebel Marra: FM

Sudan's FM Ibrahim Ghandour (R) receives UNAMID head Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi in his office in Khartoum on January 07, 2016 (Photo released by the Sudanese foreign ministry)

October 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Ministry has said that the head of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Martin Uhomoibhi stressed that his mission didn’t receive any piece of information that chemical weapons have been used in Darfur.

Late last month, Amnesty International reported that over 200 people had been killed in Darfur Jebel Marra area by banned chemical weapons since January 2016. But the government denied the claims.

The group published pictures and accounts of 56 witnesses of the alleged chemical attack who spoke about "poisonous smoke" vomit blood, struggle to breathe and watch as their skin falls off.

The Sudanese government dismissed Amnesty’s allegations as “fabricated and unfounded accusations”, pointing that it aims to obstruct “the pioneering efforts” to achieve peace and stability and to promote reconciliation in Sudan.

The U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous Tuesday said the United Nations had no evidence on the use of chemical weapons by the Sudanese government in Darfur, and called on Khartoum to cooperate with future investigations by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

On Sunday, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has discussed with Uhomoibhi the recent developments in Darfur besides his contacts with the non-signatory groups of the Doha peace document.

In a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said Uhomoibhi told Ghandour that in spite of the almost 20,000 UNAMID personnel on the ground in Darfur, none of them has seen any Darfuri with the impact of the use of chemical weapons as described by Amnesty International’s report.

He added the UNAMID chief informed Ghandour that not one displaced person meeting such description has shown up at any UNAMID Team Site clinics where they would have naturally gone for help.

The statement pointed that Uhomoibhi said not one among the leadership of the Armed Movements in Darfur discussed use of chemical weapons with him or his deputy during several meetings spanning January, April, May, July, August and September this year.

(ST)