Washington — New satellite imagery from September 8, 2013 shows evidence of recent aerial bombardment near the village of Jau in South Sudan's Unity State, within the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, or SDBZ, along the shared border of the Sudans.
Images from September 8 show two craters, one approximately 7 meters in diameter.
The attack comes just days after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met in Khartoum and recommitted themselves to peaceful relations and enforcing the nine bilateral cooperation agreements they signed in September 2012.
Sources on the ground reported that a Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, jet dropped a bomb on a South Sudanese military installation in Jau on September 7, 2013. Major Gen. James Koang Chuol, Commander of the Fourth division of South Sudan's Sudan People's Liberation Army, or SPLA, reported that the blast killed a soldier and his wife and injured six others.
The two countries' Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission team was in Unity State at the time of the attack and traveled to the bomb site to investigate. At the time of publication, the team had not commented publicly about the attack.
Satellite Sentinel Project and Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast states:
"Sudan's bombing of Jau is a provocation that increases chances for further instability, especially since joint inspectors were there, at the time, investigating whether South Sudan's army is violating the demilitarized zone. The two countries have already skirmished over Jau twice since South Sudan's independence. Combined with rising tensions around Abyei's scheduled referendum, actions such as these nudge the two countries closer to war than to peace."
Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar states: "This Satellite Sentinel Project imagery offers independent proof of Sudan's illegal use of force against its neighbor, South Sudan. When the African Union Peace and Security Council meets later this month in New York, it must condemn this bombardment and push both presidents to implement their signed agreements."
The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, monitors the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identifies potential threats to civilians, and detects, deters and documents war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.