Satellites Reveal Major Movement of Sudan Armed Forces in Embattled Capital of South Kordofan

WASHINGTON -- The Satellite Sentinel Project has identified an apparent convoy of Sudan Armed Forces vehicles and towed artillery, stretching over two kilometers and consistent with an infantry unit of at least regiment size -- equal to approximately 1,000 troops -- in Kadugli, capital of Sudan's conflict-ridden border region of South Kordofan. The apparent convoy is pointed north, although its origin, destination and total length remain unknown.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on July 4 identifies three SAF aircraft at the Kadugli airfield, including an Antonov -- a Russian-built plane of a type used by SAF in bombing campaigns -- and two Hind helicopter gunships. The presence of the helicopter gunships corroborates reports that SAF has used helicopters to hunt Nuba people in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan. Also visible at the Kadugli airfield is an Ilyushin Il-76, a Russian-built cargo plane of a type used to transport heavy equipment.

"Less than a week after signing yet another agreement, the Sudanese regime appears to be ignoring its commitment, holding to form, and positioning military assets for intensified offensive operations," said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. "This cycle will continue to be played out with increasingly destructive results for Sudanese civilians until the international community stiffens its spine and imposes swift and severe repercussions for the endless cycle of violence the Khartoum regime continues to fuel."

SSP also identified a recently reinforced SAF installation in Kadugli. The improved fortifications and significant movement of troops, vehicles, and aircraft are occurring as fighting between the SAF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has been reported in the vicinity of Kadugli in the past week. Battles have reportedly occurred between the two forces west of Kadugli at Kahliat, southeast of Kadugli at Al Hamra, and elsewhere in the vicinity since June 30.

"The major troop movement observed by the Satellite Sentinel Project, combined with other military activity around Kadugli, underscores the persistent threat to human security in the Nuba Mountains," said Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, MD. "Hostilities continue on both sides and heavy weapons are being brought to bear by Sudan Armed Forces throughout the area, including some cases of indiscriminate use against civilians."

Links to Report and DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

Read the SSP report, "Convoy: Evidence of Heavy Military Activity in Kadugli, South Kordofan": http://www.satsentinel.org/report/convoy-evidence-heavy-military-activity-kadugli-south-kordofan

View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157627002033841/

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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 Watchprovided 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. 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.