Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
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As far as the eye could see, thousands of displaced people were scattered, accompanied by what little they had left in the world.This surreal vista, which we saw visiting Abyei in January, had no shelters but had big beds and suitcases and dresser drawers sitting in the open or under trees.After years of displacement, thanks to the north-south war that raged in Sudan from 1983 to 2005, thousands of Sudanese had begun the long journey home. They hoped to vote that month in the referendum on southern independence.
But they never voted, because the government in Khartoum wouldn’t allow the plebescite to take place in Abyei, and they never resettled, because they had no support to return after so long. So thousands hunkered down in this Connecticut-size region between North and South Sudan, two historically separate territories that were lumped together at independence in 1956 and whose racial and religious divides have chafed since. Last week the long history of tensions ignited when Khartoum sent its army and allied militias to forcibly occupy the area. The regime engaged in aerial bombing, tank and artillery attacks. Its militias looted and burned villages.
The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has identified Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) equipped with heavy armor and artillery at the El Obeid Barracks, approximately 270 miles from Abyei town, possibly preparing for deployment to southern areas. Based on analysis of available transportation logistics and the formation of the units, SSP has concluded that the forces there are capable of imminent forward movement.
The force includes troop units of at least company size, towable artillery pieces, main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and Heavy Equipment Transports capable of reaching Sudan’s North-South border or Abyei town in less than a day.
Our partner the Enough Project has released a needs assessment conducted by anonymous researchers with access to rebel-held parts of Sudan’s South Kordofan state. An independent humanitarian expert has endorsed the methodology of the study, “Life in the Nuba Mountains” which paints a holistic picture of a place where internationals are not given permission to enter.
This report offers a holistic assessment of humanitarian needs in South Kordofan state, based on field research conducted in July–August 2013 by anonymous researchers. Due to security concerns, the organization wishes to remain anonymous but requested that the Enough Project publish the report. Given the lack of access to these rebel-held areas, there has been little information made public about the situation on the ground. This report strives to fill in some of these gaps.An independent humanitarian expert, Steven Hansch, has endorsed the methodology of the study, “Life in the Nuba Mountains” which paints a holistic picture of a place where internationals are not given permission to enter. The accompanying policy brief, “Aid as a Weapon of War in Sudan,” offers a way forward.
This op-ed by Not On Our Watch Board Member John Prendergast and Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar originally appeared on the Daily Beast.
Satellite surveillance can do more than document abuses after they happen. By combining information from citizen journalists with analysis of troop movements visible in imagery captured from 300 miles away in space, we can alert the world of the potential for an attack on civilians in Sudan, even before troops fully deploy.
This post was written by guest blogger, Hannah Weitzman.
Today, Nuba Reports launched a new film, The Bombing Campaign, as part its ongoing movement to bring the relentless bombings in the Nuba Mountains to the attention of the global community. The film, The Bombing Campaign, offers a compelling visualof the extent to which lives are at stake due to the reckless bombings in the region.
The Satellite Sentinel Project has secured independent confirmation of the aerial bombardment of a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) military installation in Jau town in South Sudan’s Unity State (Figure 1). The South Sudanese army’s continued occupation of Jau, which is located within the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) straddling the two countries’contested border, is a violation of the two countries’ recent recommitmentto abide by security arrangements. Jau has been the subject of territorial dispute and the site of previous clashes between the two countries’ armed forces in December 2011 and February 2012. Not withstanding South Sudan’s current non-compliance with its agreement to demilitarize its border areas, the Sudanese government’s aerial bombardment of Jau, now confirmed by the Satellite Sentinel Project, is an illegal use of force under international law.
DigitalGlobe imagery indicates that Sudan has acquired at least three Su-24 (“Fencer”) supersonic precision bomber aircraft in recent months. Theoperational range of the Fencer is a little more than 600 kilometers, whichwould allow targeted air strikes from their current position in Wadi Seidnamilitary air base into parts of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.(See Figure 1 for graphic on operational range.) The Fencer can also carry twoexternal fuel pods that would extend the range and loiter time over a targetarea. The acquisition of aircraft with precision targeting capability could signala change from rolling crude bombs out the door of an AN-24/26 transport toconducting targeted strikes.