Sudan President Omar al-Bashir just won't give up.
He's already indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Sudan's western Darfur province. Bashir is also accused of aggression in South Sudan's troubled Abyei border region.
Now there are new, disturbing reports of Bashir using the Sudan Armed Forces against the civilian population in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan's South Kordofan province.
Bashir says he has ordered an offensive in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan to capture Abdel Aziz Adam Al-Hilu, the leader of the main opposition group Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement. Hilu had been the deputy governor of South Kordofan province but he refused to concede defeat in elections to Bashir's candidate, charging that the voting was rigged. Bashir claims that Hilu is waging a violent campaign against the Sudan government. Bashir is ordering his troops to capture Hilu and subdue the SPLM forces.
But many accounts accuse Bashir's troops of killing civilians and trying to purge the Nuba Mountains of the Nuba people because they voted strongly in favor of independence for South Sudan in the January referendum, according to mounting evidence. There had been a peace agreement to stop fighting in South Kordofan, but Bashir's troops are not honoring the ceasefire.
Bashir has barred the United Nations and other humanitarian groups from South Kordofan, preventing full reporting of the alleged atrocities being committed.
The Satellite Sentinel Project has identified an apparent convoy of Sudan Armed Forces vehicles and towed artillery, stretching more than a mile in length. The convoy looks like an infantry unit of at least regiment size — about 1,000 troops — in Kadugli, capital of Sudan's conflict-ridden border region of South Kordofan.
The apparent convoy is pointed north, although its origin, destination and total length remain unknown.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on July 4 identifies three SAF aircraft at the Kadugli airfield, including an Antonov — a Russian-built plane used by the the Sudan forces in bombing campaigns — and two Hind helicopter gunships. The presence of the helicopter gunships corroborates reports that the Sudan forces have used helicopters to hunt the Nuba people in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan. Also visible at the Kadugli airfield is an Ilyushin Il-76, a Russian-built cargo plane of a type used to transport heavy equipment.
"Less than a week after signing yet another agreement, the Sudanese regime appears to be ignoring its commitment, holding to form, and positioning military assets for intensified offensive operations," said Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. "This cycle will continue to be played out with increasingly destructive results for Sudanese civilians until the international community stiffens its spine and imposes swift and severe repercussions for the endless cycle of violence the Khartoum regime continues to fuel."