Satellite Sentinel News Roundup 8/12

Satellite Sentinel Project captures the attention of major media around the world, using satellite imagery and ground-based reporting to focus attention on and promote accountability for mass atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan. Here is a round-up of recent, select media coverage of SSP.

On Thursday, August 4, published an article by Eric Reeves, “Darfur, and Now More Genocide in the Country?” to direct attention to indications that “yet again, Sudan shows all the signs of accelerating genocide, this time on its southern border.” (source)

Most disturbingly, a great many eyewitness accounts of mass gravesites are being reported; a number of these accounts are collected in a leaked UN human rights report from late June.

The extraordinary indictment rendered in this report is confirmed by definitive satellite photography from the Satellite Sentinel Project, based at Harvard University; these photographs clearly indicate large, parallel mass gravesites---capable of holding many thousands of bodies. Evidence from the UN report, as well as eyewitness accounts from many Nuba who have escaped Kadugli, confirm the findings of the satellite project.

On Thursday, August 4, an article by Inter Press Service reporter Lily Hough “Congressional Hearings Paint Picture of Crisis and Atrocities,” described evidence discussed during an emergency Congressional hearing on ethnic violence in South Kordofan. “Witnesses’ chilling depictions of a new Sudanese genocide…quelled any remnants of doubt that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Nuba mountain region of South Kordofan,” Hough wrote. She cited SSP as evidence supporting these witness acounts: (source)

In July, the Satellite Sentinel Project released satellite images consistent with mass graves in South Kordofan that confirmed similar allegations made in a U.N. report draft that was leaked around the same time.

On Friday, August 5, Voice of America quoted Jonathan Hutson of the Satellite Sentinel Project in "Kadugli Bishop Appeals to UN to Stop Sudanese Bombings," an article by Margaret Besheer. (source)

Jonathan Hutson of the Enough Project’s Satellite Sentinel Project told reporters that satellite Imagery corroborates eyewitness reports of systematic killings and mass burials. He said the evidence is consistent with allegations that the Sudan Armed Forces and northern militias have engaged in a campaign of killing civilians in Southern Kordofan.

“This is a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign where the government of Sudan is killing its own people through a campaign of artillery shelling, aerial bombardment, and house-to-house killings,” he said.

On  Friday, August 5,  The UN News Service mentioned the Satellite Sentinel Project in its report "Press conference by Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail on situation in South Kordofan." (source)

“Joining Bishop Andudu at the press conference were Peggy Hicks, Global Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, Jonathan Hutson, Director of Communications of the Satellite Sentinel Project and the Enough Project, and Nicola Reindorp, Adviser to Avaaz, a global campaign mobilizing organization.”

On Friday, August 5, an Associated Press article “Bishop accuses Sudan of 'ethnic cleansing'” by Edith M. Lederer, which was picked up by MSNBC. (source)

“The bishop said witnesses also told him about mass graves of people attacked by government forces. Details about mass graves were also described in an internal June report by Sudan's U.N. peacekeeping mission obtained by AP. And The Satellite Sentinel Project, a U.S. group, said in report last month that satellite photos appeared to show three large mass graves in the same area in Kadugli.”

On Tuesday, August 9, Frederick Clarkson’s article in Religion Dispatches, “The Anglican and the Evangelicals: Insights from the Sudanese Genocide.” (source)

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, is emerging as the catalytic figure in the public eye. Following the House hearing, he flew to New York to participate in a press conference (his first) and to press the UN Security Council to act. Andudu is unique not only because but for a medical trip to the U.S., he might now be in a mass grave in Kadugli, and not only because he is a refugee bishop, unexpectedly cast onto the international stage—but because he actually represents the people being discussed.

He is a Nuban from Kadugli, where the worst of the atrocities occurred, and is in daily contact with members of his congregation. In his prepared statement at the hearing (as in an earlier interview with RD) he emphasized respect for the pluralist culture of the Nubans, in which Muslims and Christians maintain a good relationship.

“We all belong to one human family, whatever our national, ethnic or political differences,” he wrote in his prepared testimony. “The state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign is targeting Nuba people, including not only Christians—such as the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Sudanese Church of Christ in Kadugli—but also Muslims, including those who worship at the mosque in Kauda, which a SAF fighter plane recently targeted with ten rockets.”

“We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor requires promoting peace and justice in a world marred by genocidal violence.”

On Wednesday, August 10, The Center for Strategic and International Studies published “The Forgotten Conflict in Southern Kordofan,” a report by Richard Downie that appeared on ReliefWeb. (source)

“Skirmishes broke out on June 5 between SPLA and SAF forces in the state capital, Kadugli. These quickly escalated into attacks on civilians. According to reports gathered by Human Rights Watch and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), SAF soldiers and paramilitary forces carried out systematic attacks on suspected SPLM sympathizers. The Nuba were the main targets of the assault…

“…The campaign in Kadugli was broadened to other Nuba strongholds in Southern Kordofan. Intense aerial bombing raids were carried out in the Nuba Mountains, and the region was shelled and heavily mined. Many thousands of people are believed to have fled their homes: estimates range between 73,000 and 150,000. UNMIS staff interviewed witnesses who said they had seen mass graves being filled near Kadugli. This allegation has been given added weight by satellite imagery collected and analyzed by a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization, the Satellite Sentinel Project.”