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."