Sam Kolo, once known as a high-ranking commander and spokesperson for the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, graduated from Gulu University last week with a degree in business administration. In an interview with the Ugandan Daily Monitor after the ceremony, Kolo said he regrets that so many of his former comrades remain in the bush. “We would be jubilating with them,” he said. Read More »
WASHINGTON -- In apparent preparation for a final assault against the Nuba people who live in Sudan’s southern state of South Kordofan, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has cut off the main evacuation routes for refugees fleeing areas already bombarded, has encircled the remaining local civilian population in the last rebel strongholds of the Nuba Mountains, and is building roads and lengthening the closest airstrip within striking range, according to new imagery released by the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP).
“With only two months left until the expected start of the rainy season, the Sudan army has a limited window to launch a full-scale assault on the Kauda Valley and the surrounding region where the majority of the remaining Nuba people live. As they did with the Ngok Dinka in Abyei and with the Fur and Zaghawa in Darfur, the Khartoum regime is driving the Nuba people out of their homelands in order to remove the support base for the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North.
“For years, there has been talk and debate about the efficacy of a no-fly-zone or some other kind of deterrent to the Khartoum regime’s use of air power to attack civilian targets. Now would be the time for the United Nations Security Council or interested member states to create that deterrent, and combine it with a cross-border humanitarian aid operation to break the blockade the regime has created with its denial of access for emergency assistance. If left to their own devices, thousands of Nuba civilians will die.”
The evidence in SSP’s new report shows a pattern almost identical to the Government of Sudan’s road building activity and disposition of forces revealed by satellites in March of last year, before SAF’s May bombardment, invasion and displacement of the indigenous population of 110,000 Ngok Dinka who lived in the oil-producing border area of Abyei.
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, analyzed for SSP by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), documents newly elevated roads pointing into the Nuba Mountains from SAF-controlled areas and the buildup of forces in positions where they can easily deploy along those roads with heavy armor, artillery and close air support, including helicopter gunships.
Sudanese road crews are, in one area, within 10 kilometers of completing the roads required to deploy heavy armor into the Kauda Valley, an area controlled by SPLA-North rebels. South Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun, indicted in 2008 for crimes against humanity in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, stated in October 2011, “These [road construction] projects will be the weapon for defeating the enemies.”
Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw stated:
“The United States, together with the international community, must act swiftly to fulfill its responsibility to protect the Nuba people who are being bombarded, and starved, by their own government. Sudan appears to be several weeks away from being able to launch a full-scale, final assault on the Kauda Valley and the surrounding area, where most of the 200,000 Nuba people who remain in South Kordofan, according to UN estimates, are sheltering in caves, cut off from humanitarian aid.”
SAF appears to control choke points along the routes civilians have taken over the past eight months to flee South Kordofan into South Sudan. In addition, SSP has observed SAF efforts to lengthen and level the airstrip at Talodi, which is approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Kauda Valley. The improvements to the airstrip, indicated by the presence of construction machinery, increased the length of the strip to 1,800 meters from its initial length of 1,100 meters. The Talodi airstrip is therefore now capable of accommodating Antonov planes used for bombing and other attack planes for high-tempo operations.
Recent imagery shows four SAF helicopters, including three gunships, at the Kadugli airbase. Also, main battle tanks, apparent mechanized infantry units, and occupied artillery positions are clearly visible at SAF’s 14th Division headquarters in Kadugli. These units are all capable of rapid deployment to the Kauda Valley.
SSP analysis has further determined that between 21 May and approximately 1 November 2011 the civilian population in a section of Buram likely fled. The Government of Sudan has identified Buram as a rebel-controlled area.
“The disturbing pattern, indicated by satellite imagery analyzed by SSP, has been seen before. In the case of Abyei, the international community did not heed the warnings we issued six weeks in advance. The community of nations must not again fail to act while some 200,000 Nuba civilian lives are in danger.”
The Satellite Sentinel Project is issuing a human security alert for the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan, Sudan, including the Kauda Valley, based on new evidence from satellite imagery and analysis presented in a report released today. Read More »
Judges at the International Criminal Court confirmed charges against four prominent Kenyans wanted on allegations they orchestrated violence that left an estimated 1,200 people dead after the late 2007 elections. The decision marked the “first solid step” in pursuit of justice for the victims and a crucial move in deterring violence ahead of upcoming presidential elections, said an advocate in the Kenyan capital. Read More »
At an event this week hosted by the Stanley Foundation in New York to recognize the anniversary, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered complimentary remarks about the use of R2P to justify action in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya. But it was the U.N. secretary general’s unusually candid insights about the limitations of implementing the Responsibility to Protect in South Sudan recently that stood out. Read More »
The mandate of the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria is set to end and the controversial head of mission, Sudanese General Mustafa al-Dabi, is said to be finalizing a report on the violence in the country to be submitted to a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers.
While Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al Ahmed Karti claims the Arab League monitors “are doing fine” the United Nations and many human rights organizations, including the Enough Project, have noted concern. Read More »
The BBC published an article today—notably quoting three Enoughers or former Enoughers—called “How to offset your ‘conflict minerals’ guilt,” about the link between our electronics and the atrocities committed by armed groups in Congo over the control of key mines. However, as the article reveals, this issue is not about feeling guilty but about harnessing the power of technology for good, to feel empowered to help spur change in eastern Congo. Read More »
The legal quagmire of Thomas Kwoyelo remained unresolved and the former Lord’s Resistance Army rebel remained in prison last week when the court date to decide whether he would receive amnesty came and went. Last week’s court date passed without convening because of a scheduling conflict, drawing out a case that began in October 2010 and last September appeared to conclude
On the one-year anniversary of the commencement of the Southern Sudan referendum, January 9, 2012, the Ngok Dinka people of the disputed Abyei Area formally requested that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, or CERD, immediately consider the actions of the Sudanese government vis-à-vis the Ngok Dinka people in Abyei. Read More »