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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More