Frontline Abyei: Evidence of Military Escalation in Abyei Region

Following the recent razing of three villages, there has been increased military activity in and around the contested Abyei region of Sudan during the past week. Actors aligned with both the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) appear to have improved their defensive positions and mobilized additional offensive capacity, including, in one case, vehicles consistent with the transport of heavy armor.

Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has determined that in some parts of the Abyei region, elements believed to be aligned with the SAF and SPLA now lie within an approximately 20 to 40 kilometer range of each other. SSP also concludes that the SAF and SPLA appear to now have more units arrayed within 100 kilometers of each other in and around Abyei than at any time in the past two months of SSP’s monitoring of the region.

This rapid spike in apparent military movements by armed actors represents a significant deterioration in the human security climate in the Abyei region.