Continued Violations: Both Sudans Still Violating Demilitarized Border Zone

New satellite imagery of the border area between Sudan and South Sudan shows that neither government has fulfilled international obligations to demilitarize their shared border. Despite public recommitments made by both presidents in early September 2013, Sudanese and South Sudanese forces retain military units within the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), including areas that are still subject to border dispute. DigitalGlobe satellite imagery shows that Sudan has kept a military presence along the border at six locations with 14 occupied positions. Sudan appears to have made an effort to remove or relocate some units positioned inside the SDBZ, but only the unit at Radom appears to be vacated. South Sudanese forces dismantled and then reoccupied a highway defensive position at Teshwin and have reduced their presence at Al Abyad Lake, Kiir Adem, Al-Kwek and Joda. Still, South Sudan maintains a presence at 10 locations in the SDBZ with 22 units. Tanks, technicals (truck-mounted heavy machine guns) and tents are visible on both sides of the border in satellite imagery (Figure 1).
In September 2013, DigitalGlobe acquired and analyzed satellite imagery over a broad section of the border area in order to expand and update analysis presented in Satellite Sentinel Project’s June 2013 report, “Troops in the Demilitarized Zone: Confirmationof Violations by Sudan and South Sudan.” The previously identified South Sudanese positions at Vulu were the only facilities not imaged for this new report. The imagery selected for this report reflects broader patterns of activity along the border.
The U.N.Security Council has tasked the Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) with providing operational support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) that helps both countries track demilitarization. This report,
the latest in a series from the Satellite Sentinel Project, offers visual confirmation of continued violations of the demilitarized zone and supplements ongoing efforts by UNISFA and the JBVMM to monitor the area.