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.
 
Enough Project Sudan/South Analyst Akshaya Kumar stated:
 
"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.
 
Read the report , “Civilians Caught in the Crossfire: The Bombing of Abu Kershola and Burning of Ad Dandour”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Civilians_Caught_in_the_Crossfire.pdf
 
View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157633974689193/
 
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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.