Satellite Photos Offer Evidence of Freshly Dug Mass Graves in SudanS

As many as eight mass graves have been dug since June in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, according to Satellite Sentinel Project, a group funded by George Clooney that monitors the region using satellite imagery. Two sites have been dug this week alone, based on their analysis of the pictures, which also contain evidence of body bags and bulldozers used to dispose of corpses.

The region has seen an uprising this summer of anti-government freedom fighters, and the imagery would corroborate allegations made by human rights groups that Sudanese soldiers, under orders from president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, were carrying out mass executions against civilians throughout the summer. One eyewitness described seeing 75 bodies wrapped in white plastic sheeting thrown into a hole.

The government denies it, saying they have only targeted rebels. From the NYT report:

"The pictures do not show the truth," Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman, said Tuesday. "Behind them I think it is the rebels that falsify such rumors, to bring the international community to intervene in this domestic crisis."

The U.N. has called for an inquiry into the allegations. [NYT, satellite images via Satellite Sentinel Project]