Given the state of media and information clampdowns across the continent, it’s not surprising that officials in Sudan are trying to keep the news of violence in the center of the country quiet to the rest of the world. The Satellite Sentinel Project—conceived of by actor George Clooney, and enabled by such organizations as Not on Our Watch, Google, and the Harvard Humanitarian Institute—uses Google Earth to zoom in and create images of sites that have been attacked or destroyed. In this way, the Satellite Sentinel Project on Saturday was able to determine that a third village in the Abyei region of Sudan had been the victim of attack in a spate of recent fighting.
The Abyei region has long played a significant role in the fighting between north and south Sudan; centrally located, the region’s borders have been disputed for years, and Abyei has come under increased scrutiny since this year’s referendum to split the country. Members of various militias and/or government-sponsored military groups, including the Popular Defense Forces, are accused of perpetuating violence in the region, tracing back to the beginning of the war in Darfur, Sudan, that began in 2003.
The Satellite Sentinel Project aims to make news about these attacks more prevalent in all media, and certain important figures are taking note of the increasing violence in the region: John Campbell, whose Africa in Transition blog posts are sometimes republished here on Africa.com, took note of the tense situation in Sudan on Friday. (Photo by the Satellite Sentinel Project)