News / Africa

Satellite Images Show Artillery Barrage in S. Kordofan

Images of smoke plumes indicate a Sudanese armed forces artillery barrage against SPLA-North rebels in Toroge in Southern Kordofan State.
Images of smoke plumes indicate a Sudanese armed forces artillery barrage against SPLA-North rebels in Toroge in Southern Kordofan State.
Joe DeCapua

For the second time this week, new satellite images have been released for Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State, where Sudanese armed forces have been fighting the rebel SPLA-North Sector.

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) said Friday’s images indicate an apparent artillery barrage and an attempt to block civilians from crossing the border into South Sudan.

“The latest images are probably some of the most visually striking we have captured so far at Satellite Sentinel,” said Nathaniel Raymond, head of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which analyzes the satellite images.

Smoke Plumes

“One of the lead images,” he said, “is six plumes of grey smoke consistent with an artillery barrage on a ridge in the area known as Toroge. And that area, according to information we received last night from sources on the ground, has been the site of fighting for the past two days or so.”

Images indicate Sudanese forces are at battalion strength on the Buram-Jau Road. It’s been the main route civilians had been taking to South Sudan to escape the fighting. The road leads to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.

Earlier this week, the SSP released images showing a build-up of Sudanese forces in Southern Kordofan, along with road construction. It said the information indicated a pending military offensive against the Nuba people in the Kauda Valley.

“It does not show the beginning of the offensive that we fear will take place in the next few weeks,” said Raymond. But he added that the position of the Sudanese troops has created a “choke point” on the Buram-Jau Road, which is about 45 kilometers north of the Yida camp.

“The position is described as a choke point because it sits directly across the road and in a mountainous area where there is basically one way down that stretch to get to the border with South Sudan. And now we know why there has been a decreasing flow of civilians across that border,” he said.

Accusations and denial

The Sudan Armed Forces have accused the Satellite Sentinel Project of helping the SPLA-North rebels by providing them with information.

“My reaction to that accusation is simply this – The Satellite Sentinel Project and the analytic operation that we run at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is party to the Red Cross NGO code of conduct, which means that we are impartial. We do not provide information to either side. What we do provide information about is specific to one thing: threats against civilians,” Raymond said.

He said the SSP does not provide GPS coordinates.

“We do show specific information, yes, when it’s relevant about the Sudan Armed Forces’ bases and positions. But that’s when those bases and positions are threats to civilians,” he said.

A spokesman for Sudanese forces, Col. Al-Sawarmi Khalid Said, is quoted as saying the SSP is “carrying out a hostile operation” and that the armed forces are responsible for protecting civilians.

Raymond rejected those comments. He said, “South Kordofan and the Blue Nile have been the site of clear evidence of mass atrocities against the civilian populations there. We have documented evidence of systematic house to house mass killing in Kadugli, the displacement of the entirety of the Dinka-Not population from Abyei, the bombing and burning and armored attacks on civilian villages in Blue Nile and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians,” he said.

He added, “If the Sudan Armed Forces is responsible for civilian protection, then it is no surprise why so many civilians have fled.”

The SSP has called on the international community to “take responsibility for civilian protection.”

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid