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Satellite photos show Sudanese war crimes, watchdog claims

Despite the group's claims, however, it remains unclear whether a May 21 assault by northern Sudanese forces on the contested border zone of Abyei actually reached the level of crimes against humanity.

A patrol from the international peacekeeping operation passes a destroyed UN truck that was part of a convoy transporting northern soldiers out of the Abyei area in the Todach area, north of Abyei town, in Sudan, on May 30.

Stuart Price/UNMIS/Reuters

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An anti-genocide watchdog group says it has satellite-photo evidence of war crimes committed by the northern Sudanese army during its invasion on May 21 of the strategic, hotly contested border zone of Abyei, claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. But despite the group's claims, it remains unclear whether the assault, while violent, actually reached the level of crimes against humanity.

"Consistent with [United Nations] reports of indiscriminate bombardment, displacing tens of thousands of civilians, followed by organized looting and burning in Abyei, these images provide supporting documentary evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Abyei," the Executive Director of the Washington-based advocacy group Enough Project, John C. Bradshaw, said in a statement.

The photos were captured by the Satellite Sentinel Project, an innovative attempt to provide real-time images of the remote and difficult-to-access Abyei region to concerned parties, be them policymakers, activists, or government officials. The project is supported by several parties, including the Enough Project, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and most famously, Hollywood star George Clooney.

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