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SPLA-N weapons and equipment, South Kordofan, December 2012

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This report documents weapons and equipment photographed in December 2012 during a reporting trip to the area of South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N). The photographs, most showing captured Sudanese government weapons, provide new insights into the military capabilities of both sides of the South Kordofan conflict.

The long-running conflict in South Kordofan reignited in June 2011, one month before the official secession of South Sudan. SPLA-N rapidly gained control over a larger territory than the rebel movement held in the previous war. One of the conflict’s primary fronts is around Kadugli, the state capital. Since the beginning of the war, the rebels have maintained positions within physical eyesight of Kadugli on multiple sides.

On 10 December 2012, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), together with a smaller contingent of the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF), attacked the SPLA-N at Daldoko, one of the SPLA-N positions a few kilometers outside of Kadugli. Overrunning Daldoko would give the Sudanese government road access into the heart of the SPLA-N controlled Nuba Mountains, making the site a primary strategic location. A diversionary SAF contingent attacked the SPLA-N position directly, while a second, larger SAF group engaged in an evasive flanking maneuver. But SPLA-N ambushed the flanking SAF force and repelled it.

Two days later, the SPLA-N counterattacked on the withdrawn SAF force position, still in the Daldoko vicinity. SAF retreated from that position and suffered heavy casualties. During the battle, the SPLA-N captured three PDF fighters as prisoners of war.

This report was compiled from photographs taken at the SPLA-N command base behind the Daldoko front on 11 December and 15 December; the Daldoko battle site on 15 December; and at a separate SPLA-N headquarters on 16 December. All photographs were taken in the presence of SPLA-N soldiers in rebel-controlled territory.

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