Thousands Displaced in Town Taken Over by Sudan Armed Forces, Satellite Imagery Shows

WASHINGTON – New imagery from the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, confirms that the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, control the town of Kadugli in Sudan's tense border region of South Kordofan, and that thousands of civilians have been displaced. SSP identified at least 89 apparent military vehicles in the town -- all of which appear capable of imminent forward movement -- including heavy ammunition transport trucks, light vehicles and possible towed artillery pieces. SSP's findings corroborate reports that SAF recently moved a large number of vehicles there.

The DigitalGlobe satellite images captured June 17 show a camp of at least 300 temporary shelters clustered around the United Nations peacekeeping base north of the town. The images support reports from the ground that SAF soldiers remain locked in a tense conflict with elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, in South Kordofan. And the images reveal that SAF's deployment of forces is consistent with UN documents indicating that a major SAF offensive could occur soon.

Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast stated:

“These Government of Sudan attacks in South Kordofan are not an isolated incident, and not an aberration. They represent a series of disturbing trends, including the use of force to negotiate, the commission of war crimes, and the cratering of peace agreements by the Sudanese regime in areas as wide-ranging as Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and militia-controlled areas in the South. The Kadugli clashes are another example of the Northern ruling party’s utilization of ethnic cleansing and commission of other war crimes.”

The Enough Project, which initiated the Satellite Sentinel Project with actor and activist George Clooney, has called for the U.S. to provide the Government of South Sudan with air defense capabilities to fend off attacks from the North once it becomes independent on July 9.

In the latest SSP report, the images, analyzed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, show a massing of SAF artillery, light vehicles, and heavy transports of the kinds used to carry tanks, troops, and munitions. They show at least two internally displaced persons camps near the UN base, which is consistent with reports that as many as 6,000 Sudanese have sought shelter at the UN facility.

Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, MD, stated:

“The images show a displaced population seeking refuge in the shadow of the UN peacekeepers' compound. The international community has a responsibility to protect these civilians and must act with urgency to ensure that humanitarian assistance can flow and that no more lives are lost.”

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About the Satellite Sentinel Project

The Satellite Sentinel Project, http://satsentinel.org, combines satelliteimagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker to deter the resumption of full-scale civil war between North and South Sudan, and to hold all parties accountable to their obligations under international human rights law and under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. Not On Our Watch provided seed money to launch the Satellite Sentinel Project. 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 thepublic 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 corroborationof on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the imagery. DigitalGlobe provides satellite imagery and additional analysis.