Juba — Interrupted On 8 July 2016, the fragile new peace deal forming the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) shattered to pieces in the capital of the youngest country in the world — Juba, South Sudan. Over four days, forces loyal President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar battled within the civilian communities. Their rampage left a scarring path of destruction that included killings, rape and looting.
To support the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, the following snippets of satellite imagery capture the story of Juba after the battle — with a few words to guide the viewer. For those that are more geo-inclined, a
storymap has also been created. Juba International Airport Long lines are visible in imagery from 18 July 2016 at the Juba International Airport. The airport appears open with a large increase in activity on the tarmac . Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS IDPs at Thongpiny During the fighting, internally displaced people (IDPs) fled towards the UNMISS Thongpiny area adjacent to the Juba International Airport. The security barrier to the internal facilities appears fortified in imagery from 18 July 2016 to increase security for those IDPs finding refuge within the compound . Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Gudele Market The Gudele neighborhood was directly impacted by fighting in the area. On 18 July 2016, many structures in the market and surrounding areas appear razed. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Giyada Military Barracks Giyada Military Barracks is located in the center of the city with a probable church situated next to the barracks. On 18 July 2016, earth moving machinery is visible 160 meters east of the church. The heavy machinery appears to be digging a large trench that is approximately 6x10 meters in size. After the fighting, many bodies were recovered and buried in mass grave s. Based on the location, this could be the site for those military troops killed in battle. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS SPLM/A-IO Site 1 Before Riek Machar returned to Juba to become vice president in April 2016, his opposition personnel, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), was allowed to establish two bases. The first base and home to Machar, was located on the northwestern side of Jebel Kujur. Imagery shows new zigzag trenches around the base along with debris strewn across the area from the battle that ensued as they fought to hold their territory. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS SPLM/A-IO Site 2 The second SPLM/A-IO was located only 330 meters from the perimeter of the UN House Protection of Civilian Site 1 (PoC 1). Significant damage was afflicted on this area as the opposition forces fought the military units. Imagery shows a new zigzag trench perimeter has been dug around the base and debris is visible throughout the base and the surrounding areas. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Terrain Camp On 15 August 2016, the Associated Press released a report on the celebratory actions of the South Sudanese troops after winning the battle against the opposition forces. This included the four hour rampage on the Terrain Camp residential compound on 11 July 2016, where a local journalist was murdered, aid workers raped and many beaten. With the entrance to the UN House only 1.5 kilometers west of the compound, the UN response to the situation came under immense scrutiny. Imagery from 18 July 2016, shows the ransacked compound, suggesting the perpetrators of the attack had enough time to cause significant damage to the area. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Damage Along Yei Road © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Reports surfaced of helicopter gunship s armed with unguided rockets being used by military forces during the battle, often over civilian neighborhoods. Probable damage from an aerial attack was detected along Yei Road in imagery from 18 July 2016 — only 500 meters from the UN House entrance. A warehouse and nearby structure were damaged. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS Checkpoint and UN House Yei Road between the the UN House and SPLM/A-IO Site 2 sustained the most damage visible in imagery from 18 July 2016. Tank and other probable heavy vehicle tracks are visible throughout the neighborhood along with actual burned out tanks. Many structures in the market area along the road appear destroyed. Women in the PoC 3 camp had to pass through the checkpoint area in order to buy food in the market. Amnesty International documented multiple witness reports of women being raped at this checkpoint. Image: © © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS World Food Program Multiple food aid warehouses were looted during the battle. The World Food Program (WFP) warehouse, located less than two kilometers from the UN House was one of those looted and visibly destroyed in satellite imagery from 18 July 2016. According to reports, the warehouse held 4,500 metric tons of food and supplies necessary to provide support to 220,000 people for a month. Image: © CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS