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.
“Unless the Sudan army withdraws from occupied territories and the conflict is deescalated, the new imagery reveals that the government of Sudan is prepared to intensify military operations in Abyei and along the contested border, where most of Sudan's oil lies,” said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. “The Khartoum regime seeks to intimidate the Government of Southern Sudan and the international community into deeper compromises at the negotiating table over critical issues of border demarcation, the disposition of oil revenues, and the future status of Abyei. President Bashir is betting that the blunt instrument of force will succeed in securing his interests where diplomacy has failed.”
This massing of forces is consistent with the high tempo of SAF operations reported near and within the Abyei region, and the border with South Sudan since the SAF and Misseriya militia incursion into Abyei on 21 May.
“Satellite Sentinel Project imagery and analysis has shown the escalation of military deployment, including the massing of main battle tanks, artillery and troops who are capable of imminent forward deployment,” said Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, MD. “This satellite image provides further, compelling evidence of the rapidly deteriorating human security situation in Sudan.”
This image comes hours after the Enough Project released exclusive photos showing organized ransacking and razing of buildings in Abyei.
Links to Report and DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery
Read the latest SSP report, “Troops, Tanks and Artillery at El Obeid Barracks”: http://www.satsentinel.org/report/saf-troops-tanks-and-artillery-massing-el-obeid-barracks
View or download DigitalGlobe satellite images from SSP’s latest two reports: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157626800052458/
View or download the exclusive Enough Project photos of looting and burning in Abyei town, taken on May 23: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157626679957295/
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 Watch provided 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. UNOSAT analyzes satellite images and collaborates with Google and Trellon 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.