Washington — New DigitalGlobe satellite imagery acquired by the Satellite Sentinel Project shows destruction to civilian dwellings and market areas in Mayom and Bor and reveals the human suffering of the expanding crisis in South Sudan.
The United Nations estimates over 395,000 people have been displaced by violence, and the International Crisis Group estimates as many as 10,000 people may have been killed since fighting began.
George Clooney, Satellite Sentinel Project Co-Founder, said: "Imagery from South Sudanese locations such as Bor and Mayom shows extensive damage to civilian areas caused by government and rebel forces.
"Evidence of atrocities against civilians should be collected and used for future prosecution for war crimes. There will be no peace if massive human rights abuses can be committed with no accountability. This time in South Sudan there needs to be an end to impunity."
In Mayom, DigitalGlobe imagery from January 10 shows civilians fleeing violence and widespread destruction to the town. Imagery from December 30 shows evidence of the destruction to several pieces of equipment, including oil storage tanks, in the strategically significant oil fields near Teshwin in Unity state. Civilians who fled violence in Mayom and sought refuge at the UNMISS compound in Bentiu are now facing another round of fighting in Bentiu.
The city of Bor, a flashpoint for both sides, has seen ongoing destruction, and imagery shows visible damage to at least 16 buildings in Bor's main market during early January. Imagery from December 25 shows evidence of at least 30 intentionally burned structures in the small village of Mogiri, on the road between Bor and Juba. DigitalGlobe analysts observe that this destruction likely occurred during the first offensive to retake Bor.
Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Analyst at the Enough Project, said: "For weeks, we've been seeing heartbreaking photos and videos of civilians affected by the violence in South Sudan. Now, this imagery from the Satellite Sentinel Project offers a snapshot of the sheer scale of destruction and displacement. Thousands are crowded together in U.N. compounds in both towns, and masses of people are running for their lives. Both sides need to commit to a cessation of hostilities to end this fighting."
Read the full report, "A Satellite Snapshot of South Sudan's War"