Satellites Reveal Government of Sudan Has Positioned Rocket Launchers Near Nuba Mountains

WASHINGTON – The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has released imagery revealing that the Government of Sudan has positioned four vehicles consistent with multiple-rocket launcher (MRL) systems at a recently reinforced base within 65 kilometers of the tense border region of South Kordofan. The rocket launchers, consistent with BM-21 Grads, have a range of 20 kilometers and are capable of launching a hail of 40 rockets in a single volley.

“The deployment of such powerful weapons certainly gives added currency to President Bashir's order on Friday to his army to 'clean' rebel elements from South Kordofan," said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. "Given that the Khartoum regime does not distinguish between combatants and civilians, utilizing these multiple-rocket launcher systems would dramatically increase civilian casualties. This is consistent with the ethnic cleansing campaigns that the regime has pursued in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Abyei, and parts of South Sudan.”

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on June 28 shows eight apparent armored vehicles, 24 light vehicles, and evidence consistent with at least a battalion-sized unit of infantry at a recently reinforced Sudan Armed Forces base approximately 15 kilometers from El Obeid, North Kordofan, and 65 kilometers from the border of South Kordofan.

"This vehicle, known as the Grad, can fire at least 40 rockets over 20 kilometers at the rate of two rounds a second," said SSP. "The apparent MRLs observed at the camp are within two hours’ drive of the border with South Kordofan and less than half a day’s drive from Delling, Kadugli, and Kauda."

"The introduction of apparent multiple rocket launchers by the Government of Sudan represents yet another threat to the security of civilians in South Kordofan,” said Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, MD. “These rocket launchers can rain devastation on entire communities in a matter of minutes.”

On June 30, SSP released DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and photos taken from the ground in South Kordofan which corroborate reports that the Government of Sudan has conducted aerial and artillery bombardment of 10 towns and villages in the Nuba Mountains.

Links to Report and DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

Read the latest SSP report, “Strike Range: Apparent Deployment of SAF Mobile Rocket Launchers Near South Kordofan": http://www.satsentinel.org/report/strike-range-apparent-deployment-saf-mobile-rocket-launchers-near-south-kordofan

View or download DigitalGlobe satellite images from SSP’s latest report: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157627094790466/

Read the previous SSP report, “Bombardment: Aerial and Artillery Attacks in the Nuba Mountains.” SSP 13 Bombardment in Nuba Mtns small.pdf

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About the Satellite Sentinel Project

The Satellite Sentinel Project, http://satsentinel.org, combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker to deter the resumption of full-scale civil war between North and South Sudan. Not On Our Watchprovided seed money to launch SSP. 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 the public to act. Google and Trellon collaborated to design the web platform. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the imagery. DigitalGlobe provides satellite imagery and additional analysis.