Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
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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.
The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has documented evidence of attacks by armored vehicles and the destruction of villages in Sudan's disputed border region of Abyei following the reported bombardment and occupation of the area by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on May 20-21. The SSP report, “Abyei Invasion: Evidence of SAF Incursion into the Abyei Region” captures the razing of structures north of Abyei town, including the destruction of a southern-aligned base at Todach; the potential abandonment of a southern base at Tajalei; and fires burning in the town of Dungop and another point near Abyei town. SSP also documents the apparent absence of previously documented forces at a northern-aligned militia base at Goli. This imagery is consistent with reports that northern-aligned forces have razed buildings in Abyei.
"This latest attack by the Khartoum regime demonstrates that the lack of consequences for such offensive actions will ensure that they continue," said board member John Prendergast. "The escalation of aerial attacks in Darfur, the intensification of coordinated attacks by Khartoum-supported militias, and the military occupation of Abyei require a much stronger response from the international community."
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations convened to hear testimony from panel experts and discuss the role of the United States in the, “Situation in South Sudan.” Panel experts included the Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the Honorable Nancy Lindborg, the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, the Honorable Princeton Lyman, former Special Envoy for Sudan, Mr. John Prendergast, Not On Our Watch board member, and the Honorable Kate Almquist Knopf, Adjunct Faculty at the National Defense University.
Sudan and South Sudan policy analyst Akshaya Kumar's op-ed originally appeared on the Daily Beast.
At the end of October, I wrote about how the Satellite Sentinel Project observed ominous troop movements that warned against an impending attack on civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state. Since then, the Sudanese government has launched a multi-front military campaign in the area. At the same time, it has escalated the tempo of aerial bombardment and resumed its scorched earth campaign against civilians. South Kordofan Governor Adam Al-Faki has vowed to conduct a “comprehensive cleanup campaign” and the Minister of Defense said his troops will “not stop until we crush them.” We predicted these developments, but we didn't want to be right. Without a commitment from international policymakers to push for real change, this deadly violence will continue.
Thousands of vulnerable civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state are fleeing as a wave of aerial bombardments and a series of ground attacks sweep Buram and Dilling counties. Clashes between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, rebel coalition have recently intensified in the area, and South Kordofan Governor Adam Al-Faki has vowed to conduct a “comprehensive cleanup campaign” against the rebels. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, says that attacks in South Kordofan between November 21 and 25 displaced some 25,000 civilians from the Nuba Mountains.
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.