28 January 2014

South Sudan: Satellites Show War Crimes in Malakal

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Women and children are increasingly being caught up in violent attacks in Sudan.
press release

Washington, DC — As United Nations officials head to South Sudan to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground, new satellite imagery acquired by the Satellite Sentinel Project confirms reports of damage and destruction in Malakal between January 18 and 27 in a new situation report released today.

Today, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos will travel to Upper Nile, where over 42,000 people have been displaced by violence. Satellite images of Malakal from January 27 show at least 210 tukuls burned to the ground in one of the city's quarters. Malakal, a multi-ethnic city, housing Shilluk, Nuer, Dinka, Bari and many others, has been the location of recent violence, with reports that much of it has been across ethnic lines. Nearly 25,000 people are sheltered in the U.N. compound in the northern part of town.

The imagery also corroborates photos released earlier this month by the World Food Program, which showed a WFP warehouse area before it was looted, and additional damage to the warehouse tents observed on January 27. The report highlights that laws of war mandate both respecting and protecting "humanitarian relief personnel" and "objects". This new imagery, which shows recent destruction on WFP property used for their operations, may offer independent evidence of war crimes.

Akshaya Kumar, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Analyst, says: "Targeting humanitarians neutrally delivering life-saving assistance is not just abhorrent, it is a war crime. This satellite imagery of Malakal's neighborhoods reduced to ashes and looted compounds highlight the real cost of this conflict."

Read the situation report: http://www.satsentinel.org/blog/satellites-show-war-crimes-malakal

The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document 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.

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