A new report by the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, reveals that Sudan and South Sudan have troops in at least 14 locations within their contested border zone in violation of September 2012 agreements to demilitarize the border region. Read More »
A new Satellite Sentinel Project report confirms that Sudan and South Sudan have violated bilateral agreements to create a safe demilitarized zone border. DigitalGlobe satellite imagery acquired in May and June 2013 reveals violations at least 14 locations within the zone.
By Satellite Sentinel Project and The Enough Project | Jun 14, 2013
Satellite Sentinel Project and Enough Project Press Release
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudans: Satellite Imagery Confirms Troops in Demilitarized Zone
WASHINGTON -- New DigitalGlobe satellite imagery confirms that, in contradiction of U.N. reports, and in violation of security agreements, both Sudan and South Sudan maintain troops in at least 14 locations within their contested border zone. The two nations' agreements to create a safe, demilitarized border zone have recently been put in jeopardy by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's statements repudiating September 2012 cooperation agreements between the Sudans.
George Clooney, Co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, said:
"Our satellite imagery independently proves that in spite of their promises otherwise, both Sudan and South Sudan have troops where they should not be. By shining a spotlight on their violations, we hope that the two states will see that they have too much to lose to keep undermining these important agreements."
On March 8, 2013, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to completely withdraw all military forces from the border zone by April 5. However, satellite imagery taken in May and June, and analyzed for SSP, by DigitalGlobe Analytics, reveals that almost two months after both nations should have withdrawn all of their troops, armed forces from both parties are present in multiple locations within the border zone.
On May 17, a report from the U.N. Secretary General noted that a joint monitoring team composed of U.N., Sudan, and South Sudan forces had “verified that there was no military presence” in several border locations, such as the South Sudanese towns of Kiir Adem, Teshwin, and Wunthou. The report also said that the joint team had provided “aerial verification” that SAF had withdrawn troops from border locations, such as the Sudanese towns of Radom and al Kwek, and the South Sudanese village of Kilo 4, and that “no armed forces were observed during those verifications either.” However, SSP's latest report confirms South Sudan and Sudan’s military presence in all six of those locations, as well as eight other locations, in contravention of their agreement to create a safe, demilitarized border zone.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, stated:
"With bilateral issues such as Sudan's threat to shut off the oil pipeline deepening tensions, it is perilous for Sudan and South Sudan to persist with military deployments in contravention of their demilitarization agreement. The great risk of such transgressions is that any spark between the two states involving forces under their control in the border zone could start a raging fire of conflict."
May 23 imagery shows a reinforced infantry company of the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, at Keri Kera and confirms that artillery howitzers and apparent tank tracks remain visible. Additionally, DigitalGlobe Analytics confirms that tents and structures located in the area are consistent with military presence. Previous analysis has confirmed that a SAF infantry unit supported by tanks and artillery has been present at Keri Kera for more than two years. Further documentation of violations in Sudan include imagery showing tents and foxholes consistent with military presence in the al Kwek area of Sudan’s White Nile state.
DigitalGlobe imagery taken on June 3 also reveals evidence of noncompliance by South Sudan. Satellite imagery released by SSP reveals elements of a Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, reinforced infantry battalion and four tanks in Wunthou, five miles (7.5 km) south of the border. At least 200 tents and temporary structures are also visible. SSP also released DigitalGlobe imagery of what appears to be a prohibited, platoon-sized infantry unit near the border village of Emtidad, in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
“The Sudans have taken some steps toward setting up this demilitarized zone, but this satellite imagery proves that armed forces remain in at least 14 locations. The U.N took an important first step by authorizing more peacekeeping troops to help monitor this area. But for real stabilization to occur, Sudan and South Sudan need to commit to complete compliance.”
Satellite Imagery Confirms Sudan’s Indiscriminate Bombardment of Civilians
WASHINGTON--New satellite imagery confirms that Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, indiscriminately bombarded a marketplace and civilian residential areas in the Abu Kershola district of South Kordofan, Sudan, where rebel forces had overrun a SAF garrison in April. The May 15 imagery, analyzed for the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, by DigitalGlobe’s Analytics Center, shows 20 craters – including four apparently caused by artillery shelling and 16 consistent with aerial bombardment – along with damage to and destruction of civilian infrastructure.
"News about Abu Kershola and Dandour has been stealing headlines for months because of their strategic significance to the combatants in Sudan. However, we hear far too little about the devastating impact that these rounds of fighting have had on the civilians. These exclusive satellite images, showing blackened earth and bomb-cratered landscapes, highlight the debilitating effects that the government of Sudan's indiscriminate aerial bombardment has had on civilian infrastructure in both places."
Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast stated:
"This report confirms that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict in South Kordofan. Civilian infrastructure continues to be indiscriminately destroyed. As the government blocks humanitarian aid deliveries, civilians have few options of where to run, and their chances of returning home to rebuild are vastly diminished. This leads to longer displacement and potential radicalization of the population,further undercutting opportunities for peace. The need for a comprehensive peace process across border regions—Darfur, Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile State—continues to intensify."
Recent fighting over control of the strategically located Nuba Mountains towns of Abu Kershola and Ad Dandour began in mid-April, when the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North, or SPLA-N, rebel group overran a SAF garrison at Ad Dandour. DigitalGlobe imagery taken on April 22 and released by SSP indicates that the fighting led to the burning of civilian infrastructure in Ad Dandour, where a three-day battle took place from April 15-17.
Nuba Reports, a group of Sudanese citizen journalists, reported that two civilians and 18 rebel soldiers were wounded in the battle. They also interviewed displaced civilians and took GPS-tagged photographs which show the destruction on the ground. SSP’s satellite imagery corroborates the photos and eyewitness reports that when SAF soldiers entered Ad Dandour, Sudanese Antonovs and MiG jets dropped bombs on the town. SPLA-North forces held the town for a day before retreating ahead of a SAF counteroffensive.
The spokesperson for SAF, Al-Sawami Khaled Saad, said that SRF rebels had again attacked Ad Dandour on May 26 using tanks and artillery, but that SAF retained control of the town. Earlier this week, SAF announced that it had retaken Abu Kershola; SRF stated that it had withdrawn its forces.
The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
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