Satellite Imagery Corroborates Reports of Government of Sudan Bombardment in the Nuba Mountains

WASHINGTON – The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has documented visual evidence corroborating published reports that the Government of Sudan has bombarded ten towns and villages in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan. Satellite imagery and photographs of attack aircraft corroborate multiple reports of a campaign of shelling and aerial bombing by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) which has allegedly displaced tens of thousands of civilians since June 7.

"The Government of Sudan's bombardment of its own civilian population in the Nuba Mountains is in common with its previous ethnic cleansing campaigns in Darfur and in the disputed border region of Abyei," said Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on June 28 shows four fixed-wing aircraft, including one plane consistent with an Antonov and two SU-25K Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, and five helicopters, including four Mi-24 Hind gunships -- attack helicopters of the kind reportedly used by SAF in combat operations in Darfur and Abyei -- at SAF's El Obeid airbase.

"The types of planes present at SAF's El Obeid airstrip support allegations that Antonov and ground strike fighters are bombarding targets in South Kordofan," stated SSP. "The presence of both artillery units and positions consistent with mortar and artillery firing positions also support allegations of artillery bombardment in South Kordofan."

Each of the SAF planes is within flying range of recently bombed and strafed targets in South Kordofan and is consistent with the types of planes reported to be involved in the attacks, according to SSP. Planes consistent with SU-25K Frogfoot aircraft were observed over Kauda on June 14 and 23, as shown in photographs taken there at the time. A McClatchy Newspapers report dated June 16 cites aid workers who claim helicopter gunships chased displaced people in the Nuba Mountains. 

"While reporters, humanitarians and the UN lack free and full access to South Kordofan, Satellite Sentinel Project is documenting visual evidence that the Government of Sudan is bombarding its own people in the Nuba Mountains," said Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, MD.

SSP documented visual evidence of fighting positions around Dilling, including at least two constructed after June 7, and several possible mortar and artillery emplacements. Satellite imagery also shows newly built and recently reinforced fortifications, including checkpoints, plus six vehicles consistent with armored reconnaissance vehicles, three vehicles consistent with main battle tanks, and six heavy transport trucks in the town.  

Links to Report and DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

Read the latest SSP report, "Bombardment: Aerial and Artillery Attacks in the Nuba Mountains”: http://www.satsentinel.org/sites/default/files/SSP%2013%20Bombardment%20in%20Nuba%20Mtns%20small.pdf

View or download images from SSP’s latest report: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157626956031563/with/5886419768/

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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 Northern and Southern Sudan and to provide greater accountability for mass atrocities. 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 Sudan Now partners, pressures policymakers by urging the public to act. UNOSAT analyzes satellite images and collaborates with Google and Trellon 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.