Up in Flames: Towns Bombed and Homes Torched in South Kordofan

Thousands of vulnerable civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state are fleeing as a wave of aerial bombardments and a series of ground attacks sweep Buram and Dilling counties. Clashes between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, rebel coalition have recently intensified in the area, and South Kordofan Governor Adam Al-Faki has vowed to conduct a “comprehensive cleanup campaign” against the rebels. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, says that attacks in South Kordofan between November 21 and 25 displaced some 25,000 civilians from the Nuba Mountains.
 
Amid these developments, the Satellite Sentinel Project has acquired the first satellite images showing bomb craters in Buram county and burned dwellings in Dilling county. (see map in Image 1) 
 
In Buram county, DigitalGlobe confirmed a widely-reported aerial bombardment with satellite evidence of a new crater that appeared between November 13 and 19, 2013 in the village of Tanasa. (see image 2) A ground source described “huge” and “parachuted” bombs in Tanasa on November 17. This satellite imagery independently corroborates the graphic online video that has been circulating in the public domain. According to news reports, two children were killed and a third was injured in the attack. A press release issued by the SPLM-N also confirmed the Tanasa bombings.
 

 
 
DigitalGlobe also observed two large bomb craters that appeared between November 13 and 19 in a farmer’s field approximately 14 kilometers north of Tanasa and 5.5 kilometers west of the Reka (“El Reika” or “Alreika”) area. (see image 3) The craters are consistent with aerial bombardment and are about 6.5 meters in diameter. The visible blast effect is about 52 meters in diameter for each crater. Just two of Sudan’s new precision bombs can obliterate the area of an entire football pitch, which is a significant increase in Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, capability to inflict harm on civilians.
 
DigitalGlobe has also documented destruction in areas northwest of Buram county in Dilling (or “Delling”) county. Satellite imagery from November 24 showed SAF in Kundukr town as huts and dwelling burned. (see image 4)
 
At least 142 structures, mostly huts and tents, are visibly damaged and burned in the images of Kundukr from November 24. The November 24 images contrast sharply with satellite photographs taken before the destruction, on November 3. (see image 5) DigitalGlobe analysts observed an active fire in Kundukr near the burned dwellings and a battalion-size SAF unit southwest of town with vehicles in line for refueling. (see images 6 and 7)
 
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery from Kundukr corroborates reports of fighting in the area between November 21 and 25 that had been confirmed both privately by ground sources and publicly by Arnu Ngutulu Lodia, a spokesman from SPLM-N. Reports indicated that shelling and air strikes killed more than 20 people and injured 18 in the group of nearby towns that included Kundukr West, Kundukr East and Shinqel. More than 12 people were reportedly kidnapped, and 3,720 people were displaced in the attacks. The area sustained heavy damage, with 900 homes looted, burned, or destroyed, and more than 150 farms burned.