The Satellite Sentinel Project’s new report, "Continued Violations: Both Sudans Still Violating Demilitarized Border Zone" confirms the continued militarization by both Sudan and South Sudan in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ). This new imagery and analysis reveal border violations despite public commitments by Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in early September 2013 to cut forces which they have retained in the area. Although both Sudan and South Sudan have moved or disengaged troops from some areas of the SDBZ, each side occupies positions – some with tanks, technicals (truck-mounted heavy machine guns), and tents – along the border.
Sudanese units along the SDBZ include Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, and Popular Defense Forces, or PDF, positions in six regions with 14 occupied positions. As of September 16, 2013, DigitalGlobe imagery showed activity by a SAF reinforced infantry company in the SDBZ’s Keri Kera area in a position with howitzers, technicals, and a tent for tanks. SAF holds similar positions in Al Kwek; Al Miqenis, a disputed area between Upper Nile and White Nile; and Heglig, a claimed area between Unity and South Kordofan. A south Al Miqenis post has been occupied by both SAF and PDF forces. DigitalGlobe images from September 2013 show that SAF forces have abandoned the previously-militarized Radon area.
South Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, continues to occupy 10 locations in the SDBZ with 22 units. The SPLA positions in the Quffa and Al Kwek areas of the SDBZ include defensive perimeters, with no tanks, artillery, or technicals recorded by the latest DigitalGlobe imagery. The Al Kwek occupation has been reduced, with only about 20 tents remaining in place as of September 14, 2013. SPLA’s forces in Kiir Adem have also been reduced in size. The previously-occupied Jau area on the Sudan/South Sudan border, which retained the presence of either the SPLA or a rebel group until mid-2013, is now unoccupied. The SPLA continues to hold positions in Aleel; Teshwin highway and oilfield; Raqabat; Wunthou/Halaka; and Sumeih, near the disputed Kiir River/Bahr al Arab.
Sudan and South Sudan’s continued militarized occupations of the SDBZ violate a September 2012 agreement to withdraw their forces. The images captured by DigitalGlobe nearly one year later confirm that neither government has fulfilled the international outlined obligations.
Sahar Adora contrbuted to this post.