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Monday, September 26, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Satellite images show Sudan massing troops
in Blue Nile border area

WASHINGTON — Sudan is said to be preparing for a massive attack on a rebel stronghold.


The Satellite Sentinel Project has determined that the regime of President Omar Bashir has been amassing thousands of troops for an attack on the rebel stronghold of Kurmuk. The Washington-based organization released 14 satellite images that showed at least a brigade, or 3,000 troops, deployed in the border area of the Blue Nile.

"This irrefutable, visual evidence of massive military operations in Blue Nile State provides a human security warning to civilians in Kurmuk and the surrounding area," John Bradshaw, executive director of the Enough Project, linked to SSP, said.

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SSP, which analyzed images taken by the DigitalGlobe satellite on Sept. 21, showed Sudanese infantry units equipped with main battle tanks, artillery and attack helicopters near the town of Dindiro and within 65 kilometers of Kurmuk. The ground platforms were also said to include infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers along with six Russian-origin Mi-24 helicopters.

The United States and the larger international community should invoke the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to exert greater pressure on the government of Sudan to spare the lives of non-combatants," Bradshaw said.

The Khartoum regime has acknowledged plans to attack Kurmuk. On Sept. 20, the governor of the Blue Nile province was quoted as saying that Sudanese forces planned to capture the city.

"SSP has also identified apparent craters, consistent with artillery and/or rocket bombardment in the Dindira area," the project said on Sept. 23. "This corroborates reports that SAF [Sudanese armed forces] advanced into Dindiro following active bombardment in that area."

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