South Sudan: Satellites Show Homes Aflame in Opposition Leader's Hometown

Washington, D.C. — New satellite imagery confirms at least one violation of South Sudan’s cessation of hostilities agreement, which combatant forces signed on January 23. Imagery acquired by the Satellite Sentinel Project documents recent destruction of Riek Machar’s hometown Leer in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State. Notwithstanding the agreement to silence their guns, the country’s former Vice President, Machar, recently re-confirmed his open support for an “organized resistance” to the South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir.


Imagery dated February 2 shows the destruction on residential structures in the town center and surrounding areas. Over 1,100 residential huts, and 17 market stall buildings were destroyed from fire and images reveal indications of looting. Multiple sources in South Sudan confirm that the town was attacked by government aligned forces over the weekend.


Akshaya Kumar, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Analyst, says:


“This graphic imagery of Riek Machar’s home town abalze vividly confirms that fighting has not stopped in South Sudan. Thousands of civilians lost their homes as a result of this attack, which was launched less than two weeks after both sides promised to put down their guns. In light of this independent evidence, once the IGAD monitoring and verification teams begin their work, they must prioritize an investigation into Leer’s destruction.”

As clashes between South Sudanese government and opposition forces persist, civilian protection concerns grow. The U.N. estimates that at least 863,000  people have been displaced by the recent violence in South Sudan, of which 123,400 have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. 3.2 million people are at immediate risk of food insecurity, and more than 90 percent of them are in states that are most affected by the recent conflict and violence.


Read the full report, “South Sudan: Satellites Show Homes Aflame in Opposition Leader’s Hometown:

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