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Monday, 31st January 2011

New Online: "First Satellite Images Available of SAF Troop Deployments Near Sudan's Volatile North-South Border"

From a Digital Globe Announcement and Summary:

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed that the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, has deployed company-sized units of troops equipped with light armor and artillery in areas of South Kordofan around the oil-producing Abyei region and other strategic areas along Sudan’s volatile North-South border. However, the project’s first report also indicates that the SAF troops do not appear prepared for imminent forward movement. This provides a window for the peace process to address outstanding North-South issues which, if unresolved, could trigger renewed conflict.

Troop buildups have been reported on both sides of the border. Authoritative sources, such as the Small Arms Survey, indicate approximately 55,000 SAF troops along the border of South Kordofan – half the strength of Sudan’s standing regular army – spread out over some 100 garrisons. The satellite imagery collected to date by SSP is consistent with those reports, and it provides photographic corroboration of company-size deployments, light armor, mobile artillery, and other offensive military equipment, as well as helicopter transport.
The imagery analysis, prepared by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, presents fresh and unprecedented high-resolution imagery of a potential conflict zone captured by DigitalGlobe, a leading commercial satellite firm, which is providing imagery and additional analysis. These images, combined with the Enough Project’s field reports, provide a baseline understanding of what’s happening in flashpoint areas, where the combination of large numbers of security forces and high levels of tension could cause localized incidents to escalate, drawing both sides into a wider conflict.

The summary has more info including a statement by George Clooney, co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project.

+ Read the Full report

+ Latest satellite images

+ Info on Ways to Take Action

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