Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
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WASHINGTON -- The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has released new satellite imagery confirming the intentional burning of Um Bartumbu village in Sudan’s conflict-torn border region of South Kordofan. SSP’s latest report, which also includes new eyewitness reports and photos embedded with GPS codes, solves the mystery of an undated cell phone video, which appeared to show a unit of Sudanese forces called the Match Battalion razing an unnamed village.
AGOK, South Sudan -- “I ran because I saw many militias and SAF,” said Malak Miyen, an elderly Ngok Dinka man. “I survived because of God.” Malak was in Abyei town when Sudan government forces and allied militias violently took over the Abyei territory in May 2011, in response to alleged South Sudan army provocation. For over a year, he has been displaced in a town 37 kilometers south of Abyei town called Agok. This was the second time in his life Malak has been forced to flee from his home. The first time was in 2008, when Abyei town was similarly ravaged by fighting.
This op-ed originally appeared on USA Today.
After our first trip to Darfur together nearly a decade ago, we were certain that the enormity of the human rights crimes unfolding there would result in a major international response.
On January 16, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinatorin Sudan confirmed the biggest forced displacement in Darfur in recent years.
For months, the two Sudans have been facing off along their contested border. In September, they agreed to establish a buffer zone, 10 km north and south of the agreed upon center line, to separate their armed forces and reduce tension in the region. In the past week, both the governments of Sudan and South Sudan finally reported that their troops have withdrawn on their respective sides of the center line and will withdraw from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, or SDBZ.
Earlier this week, at the 2012 GEOINT Symposium—the nation’s largest intelligence event—the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, or USGIF, honored DigitalGlobe and theSatellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, with the 2012 Industry Intelligence Achievement Award. This was part of the USGIF Awards Program that annually recognizes the exceptional work of the geospatial intelligence tradecraft’s brightest minds. The award winners are nominated by organizations within the field of geospatial intelligence, known as GEOINT.
Few have ever heard of the Nuba Mountains village of Um Bartumbu, and fewer still have been there. It is located in the conflict-torn state of South Kordofan, Sudan, where troops fighting for the government of Sudan, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North, or SPLM/A-N, have been fighting since June 2011. Um Bartumbu Village does not appear on most maps, but it hosts a clinic, a mosque, Sudanese Church of Christ, several storerooms, a communal grinding mill, and copses of desert date trees. But for new eyewitness reports obtained by citizen journalists, the recent discovery and release of a cellphone video, and new confirmation from DigitalGlobe and Landsat satellite imagery, the world would never know of the razing of the village and the forced flight of its inhabitants.