Report: New Eyewitnesses, Satellite Evidence of Three More Mass Graves in South Kordofan, Sudan

WASHINGTON – The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has obtained visual evidence, and new eyewitness reports, of three more mass grave sites in and around Kadugli, capital of Sudan’s conflict-torn Southern Kordofan state. Satellite imagery reveals what appear to be two piles of corpses wrapped in body bags or tarps on a wooded mountainside. Rising above the site are the town’s landmark, giant words of welcome: "Kadugli, The Town of Love and Peace." The painted, white Arabic lettering is visible by anyone who flies in or drives through.

Elsewhere in Kadugli, based on Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe imagery and eyewitness accounts, SSP concludes that government-aligned forces are likely trying to cover up another alleged mass grave beneath a water tank.  

Satellite imagery also shows fresh digging where an eyewitness reported to SSPseeing an earthmover dump five or six bodies into a mass grave just outside a private garden full of mango and lime trees. Next to the excavated pit, the witness reported seeing two men wearing what appeared to be white Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) aprons hoist a dead body out of an SRCS Land Cruiser and place it on the ground.

Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast said:

“Evidence continues to mount of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sudangovernment. Just as in the early days in the Darfurcrisis, endless debates about basic facts on the ground stymied any meaningful international response. The human rights crisis in the NubaMountains, which will eventually lead to a humanitarian emergency, is indisputable and demands a much more robust civilian protection response.”

The satellite imagery corroborates reports of mass graves in a United Nations report  released on 15 August that also describes alleged arbitrary arrests, house-to-house searches, and extrajudicial killings in Kadugli. The United Nations is urging an investigation into those allegations, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Dr. Charlie Clements, Executive Director of the Harvard Carr Center, said:

“The concealment of potential evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity can itself constitute a war crime. The Satellite Sentinel Project’s evidence, presented in this report, adds urgency to the many calls to finally secure evidence of the crimes allegedly committed by the Government of Sudan.”

The three alleged mass grave sites identified in this report are separate from and in addition to the three apparent mass graves south of the Tilo School in Kadugli shown in SSP’s 14 July 2011 report. SSP has posted an interactive map of the Kadugli area, showing the locations of the six alleged mass graves.

Links to SSP Reports, Interactive Map, and DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

Read the new SSP report, “Cover-Up: New Evidence of Three Mass Graves in South Kordofan”: http://www.satsentinel.org/report/cover-new-evidence-three-mass-graves-s...

View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157627455652214/with/6052803703/

View SSP’s interactive map, showing the locations of six alleged mass graves in and around Kadugli: http://bit.ly/o5SkEB

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About the Satellite Sentinel Project

The Satellite Sentinel Project, http://satsentinel.org, combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker to deter the resumption of full-scale civil war between North and South Sudan. Not On Our Watch provided seed money to launch SSP. The Enough Project contributes field reports and policy analysis, and, together with Not On Our Watch and our SudanNow partners, pressures policymakers by urging the public to act. Google and Trellon collaborated to design the web platform. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the imagery. DigitalGlobe provides satellite imagery and additional analysis.