December 1, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army (SAF) has claimed it seized control of an area in South Kordofan State from the hands of the rebels Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).
- FILE - SAF’s spokesman Al-Sawarmi
In a statement carried on Thursday by Sudan’s official news agency SUNA, the country’s media minister Kamal Ubayd announced that SAF regained control of an area he called Tarogi.
Ubayd, who was addressing the council of ministers in Khartoum, said that the “liberation” represents “an important victory”, congratulating SAF for the efforts it made to secure it.
Sudan’s army has been battling SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan State which since early June. The conflict later extended to include Blue Nile State where SAF on 3 November seized the SPLM-N’s stronghold of Al-Krumuk on the borders with Ethiopia. It later seized Daim Mansoru area south of Al-Kurmuk.
South Kordofan and Blue Nile lie on Sudan’s borders with South Sudan. The two states are home to communities that largely fought alongside southerners in the civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace deal that paved the way for the south’s independence in July this year.
Meanwhile, a new report by the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) analyzing satellite imagescaptured between 11 and 27 November in Blue Nile has indicated that SAF had destroyed civilian structures in the ‘Amara village.
The report, Blue Nile Burning: Evidence of the Destruction of ’Amara Village, also identifies evidences of aerial bombardment and heavy armor movement in and around the village of ‘Amara.
According to SSP, the images indicate that SAF “intentionally razed” civilian structures in the village of Amara.
“The civilian structures in the village, known as tukuls, have apparently been intentionally razed,” the report said.
SSP further said that the images also show two recently built military encampments and tracking consistent with heavy armor movement around the village of ’Amara.
The report also said that the imagery shows caters on the ground some as wide as 13 feet and said this finding is consistent with aerial bombardment around the village of Amara.
“At least eight craters consistent with aerial bombardment are also visible,” it added.
John Bradshaw, the executive director of the Enough Project, an advocacy group, said that the imagery is “consistent with reports from on the ground that the SAF has intentionally destroyed civilian communities in clear violation of the laws of war.”
“The international community needs to take immediate action to protect at-risk civilians in Blue Nile state and elsewhere in Sudan including banning offensive flights over the areas of conflict.”
According to Charlie Clements, MD, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, these images and analysis “provide further evidence of the Government of Sudan’s disregard for the laws of war and human rights principles.”
“The civilian structures that appear to be intentionally destroyed are testimony to the Sudan Armed Forces’ continued use of disproportionate force.”