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Satellite Imagery Confirms Returning Crisis in Sudan

Peg Shippert

While our attention may have been diverted recently toward conflicts such as the war in Gaza and the actions of the Islamic State, the situation in Sudan has not been improving. Satellite imagery of hundreds of burned down homes attest to the growing crisis, which seems headed toward a replay of the ethnic cleansing by militias that began in 2003. This time, though, the Sudanese government seems to be more openly involved. Witnesses describe army officers, wearing state-issued uniforms, leading new militias in destroying villages and perpetrating other crimes in the area.

Recently George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project released a report describing the resurgence of Janjaweed militiamen, rebranded as Rapid Support Forces (RSF). While they may have a new name and official support of the government, reports indicate that they are no less "devils on horseback" than they were over a decade ago when the world first learned of their atrocities.

DigitalGlobe imagery has been an important tool for confirming and documenting the resurgence of violence in the area.  For example, the Enough Project, a partner of the Satellite Sentinal Project, provide the following DigitalGlobe image, confirming significant damage to shelters adjacent to the African Union- United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) camp and a portion of Khor Abeche village in South Darfur, from fires set by RSF shortly before the image was collected on March 26, 2014. Imagery Courtesy of DigitalGlobe/Satellite Sentinel Project/ENOUGH Project.


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