As South Sudanese combatants signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa on Thursday, January 23, new images from the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, confirmed the systematic and intentional destruction of civilian homes in the town of Bentiu and across other parts of Unity state.
DigitalGlobe images of Bentiu, Rubkona, Mayom, Khor Bwow, and small villages along the road between Bentiu and Mayom show widespread destruction of civilian residences. Almost 400 dwellings were torched near Khor Bwow. Several neighborhoods in Bentiu were completely destroyed. Near Bentiu, groupings of tukul residences were burned to the ground in a pattern that suggests a deliberate and systematic torching of each structure. Outside Bentiu, on the road leading west toward the town of Mayom, several villages, including Tutlek, Tumo, Budang, and Yak, showed damage. At least 350 structures collectively had been torched.
Akshaya Kumar, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Analyst, says:
"This new satellite imagery is visual proof that recent violence and combat on the ground has direct impact on civilians living in Unity State. These scorched earth tactics have destroyed homes and residential areas, and put women, children, and families in great danger."