Sunday, June 19, 2011

Major military offensive could be imminent in Sudan, monitors say

A major military offensive may be in the offing in the northern Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan, a monitoring group said Saturday.

The Satellite Sentinel Project released images, captured on Friday, that it said shows the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) control Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan.

The monitoring group, which combines satellite images with field reports to provide an early warning system for violence, identified at least 89 apparent military vehicles in the city, including heavy ammunition transport trucks, light vehicles and possible towed artillery pieces.

Satellite images: Military buildup?

The images also reportedly show a camp of at least 300 temporary shelters clustered around the U.N. peacekeeping base north of Kadugli, evidence that thousands of civilians have been displaced, the group said.

"The images support reports from the ground that SAF soldiers remain locked in a tense conflict with elements of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, or SPLA, in South Kordofan. And the images reveal that SAF's deployment of forces is consistent with U.N. documents indicating that a major SAF offensive could occur soon," the Satellite Sentinel Project said in a statement. (read more)