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SSP Corroborates Evidence of Bombings of South Sudan Refugee Camps

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SSP Corroborates Evidence of Bombings of South Sudan Refugee Camps

Posted by Mollie Zapata on November 15, 2011

The Satellite Sentinel Project followed up its November 11 report showing Sudan Armed Forces increasing air attack capacity near the border of Sudan and South Sudan with another report today that confirms evidence of bombings in Guffa and Yida refugee camps in South Sudan. The attacks took place on November 8 and 10. The new imagery corroborates that the increased air capacity noted in the previous report was likely used to drop bombs on refugees who fled to South Sudan to escape persecution in contested Sudanese border states.

The new satellite imagery also appears to show three ground attack fighters, including two Nanchang Q-5’s and a Sukhoi SU-25, as well as four Hind helicopter gunships based in El Obeid, a military base for the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, within striking range of targets in South Sudan.

In Guffa refugee camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, SAF launched a four-hour bombardment campaign on November 8 that killed seven people and destroyed an unknown number of structures. Reports of the recent attack on Yida camp, which sheltered approximately 21,000 people, allege that an Antonov dropped four bombs on the camp on November 10.

Reports from the ground attest that no one was killed in Yida. However, Charlie Clements, MD, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a former U.S. Air Force combat veteran who served in Vietnam, pointed out:

Even when indiscriminate bombing kills or wounds no one, communities are still terrorized and displaced due to fear. Crops are not planted or tended; markets shut down; and vulnerable people flee for their lives.

SSP has concluded that the two large, light-colored aircraft at El Obeid are consistent with eyewitness ac­counts of large white or grey Antonov-type aircraft recently attacking refugee camps in South Sudan.