Feeds

Google Earth unearths crashed Darfur gunrunning plane

Leaked UN report, US gov says pranged Antonov was arming Janjaweed

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A crashed Antonov transport plane at the centre of US and UN allegations of gunrunning into war-torn Darfur is visible on Google Earth.

The US State department yesterday announced specific measures against a Sudanese air-freight operation, the Azza Air Transport Company. The Sudanese air-cargo firm was "sanctioned under Executive Order 13400 for transferring small arms, ammunition and artillery to Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militia in Darfur."

The Darfur region has been racked by conflict between government-backed Janjaweed Arab militias and local black-African inhabitants. The Janjaweed have frequently been accused of genocide, and are widely thought to have the backing of the Khartoum government.

A confidential UN report, leaked last month and now downloadable here (large Word document) says:

"The Government of the Sudan continues to ship both small arms and heavy weapons, ammunition and other military equipment into the Darfur states by air, specifically into the airports at El Geneina, Nyala and El Fasher. According to reliable sources, several cargo aircraft landed repeatedly at El Geneina airport in January and February 2007 reportedly to offload military equipment...On 24 February 2007, an Antonov AN-12 aircraft bearing registration number ST AQE flew from Khartoum to El Geneina airport, where it crashed shortly after 9am...that specific flight was operated by AZZA Transport...In addition to the passengers there were two D-22 type 122-mm artillery howitzers and 40 to 50 wooden boxes painted olive drab, suspected to contain arms and ammunition."

Well-known blogging war correspondent David Axe was watching the story and immediately looked up Geneina airport on Google Earth (See here [kmz]). Sure enough, the imagery seems to show a couple of damaged transports tipped over on their sides.

Geneina Airport stetch

Google Earth overhead imagery of Geneina Airport with damaged planes marked

Axe seems to favour the bottom left one (circled in black on the snapshot), but we reckon it's the bigger job, up by the runway, circled in red. It looks as though the plane has been tipped over to lie with the damaged wing high. Compare with the closeup witness photo from the leaked UN report.

Leaked UN pic

Witness photo of crashed arms transport from leaked UN report

It's always possible that the Google imagery shows a completely different plane, of course. But it seems likelier that the Sudanese government may join many others in requesting some Google fuzzing or blanking in future. Hopefully the don't-be-evil lads won't comply.

More from David Axe here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.