News / Africa

Satellite Spots Large Build-Up of Northern Sudanese Forces

Armed men walk past on April 17, 2011 as resentment towards the capital Khartoum runs high in the restive town of Abyei, on the Sudanese north-south border.
Armed men walk past on April 17, 2011 as resentment towards the capital Khartoum runs high in the restive town of Abyei, on the Sudanese north-south border.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Another satellite image of Sudan’s Abyei region shows an even bigger build-up of northern Sudanese forces than first thought.

The new image follows the release Wednesday of images showing the effects of fighting May 20 and 21. They showed Sudan Armed Forces positioned around Abyei, including warplanes on the ground in El Obeid, some 435 kilometers away.

New image

“[It] shows approximately a battalion size force of tanks, infantry - several platoons - and 13 artillery pieces with fighting vehicles assembled at the El Obeid barracks about 270 miles north of Abyei ,” said Nathaniel Raymond, director of operations at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative for the Satellite Sentinel Project.

Thursday’s images initially showed warplanes on the tarmac at El Obeid, but a further analysis revealed new details.

“Our team has identified this massing of troops, which to be clear, appears ready and capable of deploying to points south,” he said. He estimated that under good driving conditions those forces could reach Abyei in 10 or more hours. Currently, there’s no indication they’re on the move.

Northern forces are now in control of Abyei following fighting earlier this month. South Sudan President Salva Kiir has said he won’t return to war with the north over Abyei, and added that this was a time for peace. A more than 20 year civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

While the south will become an independent nation in July, the issue of oil-rich Abyei remains unsettled. A planned referendum on Abyei itself was never held.

Raymond said, “At this point we are continuing to identify forces on both sides of the border. And also, we’re paying very close attention to the extremely disturbing reports of thousands of internally displaced people fleeing their homes in Abyei and the border region.”

While a satellite image is yet to confirm that, the medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders, is reporting a steady flow of people from Abyei to Agok further south.

“I want to be very clear that we are working every day and are going to try to release imagery every day going forward to update responders on the ground and people around the world about what is happening,” he said.

It can take 12 hours or more to analyze a satellite image before releasing it to the public. Weather conditions could affect images. “There is a lack of verifiable information inside Abyei because of security restrictions,” he said.

Why Abyei?

“Abyei is being contextualized in terms of being an oil rich or water rich region. Abyei’s significance is much bigger than that.” he said, “Reports of alleged ethnic cleansing and the movement of nomadic Misseriya people into that area in the past few days are deeply disturbing,” said Raymond.

Raymond added, “Violence in Abyei could mean a return of violence for Sudan.”

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid