by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Jul 6, 2011
Sudan's ongoing civil conflicts are being monitored from space.
Independent spatial analysis by the Satellite Sentinel Project has identified an apparent convoy of Sudanese armed forces vehicles and towed artillery moving north.
Analysts said the convoy appears capable of sustaining an infantry unit at regimental levels and contained at least 1,000 troops.
The troops are in Kadugli, Sudan's restive South Kordofan border regional capital, but their eventual destination following deployment remains unknown.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's analysis of DigitalGlobe 4 July satellite imagery identified three Sudanese air force aircraft on the Sudanese the Kadugli airfield, including a Russian-made Antonov and two Hind helicopter gunships, the Satellite Sentinel Project reported Wednesday.
Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, an ally of the Satellite Sentinel Project, said, "Less than a week after signing yet another agreement, the Sudanese regime appears to be ignoring its commitment, holding to form, and positioning military assets for intensified offensive operations.
"This cycle will continue to be played out with increasingly destructive results for Sudanese civilians until the international community stiffens its spine and imposes swift and severe repercussions for the endless cycle of violence the Khartoum regime continues to fuel."
The Satellite Sentinel Project is a unique alliance between activists with open-source high-technology and open source intelligence, combining satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google's Map Maker in an attempt to interdict the continuation of incipient renewed civil war between northern and southern Sudan.
Harvard Carr Center Executive Director Charlie Clements, a SSP affiliate, added: "The major troop movement observed by the Satellite Sentinel Project, combined with other military activity around Kadugli, underscores the persistent threat to human security in the Nuba Mountains. Hostilities continue on both sides and heavy weapons are being brought to bear by Sudan armed forces throughout the area, including some cases of indiscriminate use against civilians."
Hollywood actor and activist George Clooney initiated the SSP following an October 2010 trip to the southern Sudan with Prendergast. SSP is designed to provide an advanced spatial early warning system both to deter confrontation between northern and southern Sudanese military elements as well as develop materials for documenting accountability for potential atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns. Not On Our Watch provided the initial start-up money to begin SSP.
In an unprecedented pooling of digital resources, Google and Trellon collaborated in designing the SSP web platform, while DigitalGlobe provides satellite imagery and additional analysis.
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