[Dehai-WN] VOA: Satellite Images Show Sudan Air Power Build-up

[Dehai-WN] VOA: Satellite Images Show Sudan Air Power Build-up

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:16:18 +0100

Satellite Images Show Sudan Air Power Build-up

Joe DeCapua

November 16, 2011

* Audio-

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) Tuesday released new images of an air
base in Sudan's Northern Kordofan State that it says corroborate reports
that Sudan bombed two refugee camps in South Sudan last week. The Khartoum
government has denied the bombings.

De Capua report on satellite images

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"These images show the El Obeid air base where there is a large gathering of
military air power, including two AN 26 Antonovs," said Nathaniel Raymond,
head of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which analyzes the satellite

He said the presence of the Antonov aircraft is important in light of eye
witness reports of the November 10 attack on the Yida refugee camp. A
similar attack was reported two days earlier at the Guffa camp.

"They match the description of the planes that allegedly attacked the two
refugee camps in southern Sudan last week. Additionally, these planes on the
strip at El Obeid are in range operationally of those camps. They could have
made that flight and they are capable of performing a mission such as a
bombing run," Raymond said.

Growing air power

Last week, the SSP reported that the Sudanese Armed Forces were upgrading
captured rebel air bases in Blue Nile State.

"They are improving the ability of newly captured airstrips to handle
certain types of aircraft and to be able to handle multiple aircraft coming
in or out of an airstrip at a time. The second thing we're seeing.is the
gathering of multiple types of aircraft at El Obeid," he said.

The images identify the aircraft as ground attack fighters and helicopter
gunships, in addition to the Antonovs.

Raymond said, "The question is will those joint strike fighters come into
play and be used similar to the way the Antonovs have been used in terms of
attacking ground targets?"

Southern response

The satellite Sentinel Project has also been watching developments on the
South Sudan side of the border to see whether there's a comparable build-up
up of military forces.

"There is no comparable build-up that we have been able to see at this
point,' he said.

South Sudan is not believed to have anywhere near the number of military
aircraft that Sudan has.

"Additionally," Raymond said, "South Sudan has little roads or
infrastructure to be able to bring forces to the front of the line. Whereas
in the case of north Sudan, there has been significant build-up of
infrastructure over the past few months along the border to be able to move
troops and supplies."

What next?

Raymond said, "I think the key now is for the U.N. Security Council to act.
There have been a lot of statements, but policy related to south Kordofan,
related to Blue Nile, international policy, has not changed all that much
since the attacks began."

Satellite image of El Obeid air base in Sudan's North Kordofan State,
showing build-up of military aircraft.

Photo: Satellite Sentinal Project

Satellite image of El Obeid air base in Sudan's North Kordofan State,
showing build-up of military aircraft.


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Received on Wed Nov 16 2011 - 11:16:29 EST
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