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  • Writer's pictureSudan Witness

Destruction and fires at Qurtuba poultry farm, El Gezira

Updated: Apr 8



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Summary:

  • Sudan Witness verified damage to the Qurtuba poultry farm, 5km east of Al Masid, El Gezira. 

  • The damage occurred between 16 and 17 January 2024. 

  • On 17 January 2024, the SAF took responsibility for the damage and stated that they carried out an airstrike to target RSF soldiers hiding in the farm. 


On 16 January 2024, a RSF soldier posted a video to TikTok of himself speaking to the camera, in which he claimed that an SAF airstrike had hit the Qurtuba poultry farm in El Gezira. On 17 January 2024, the same soldier posted another video showing fires and debris in a rural area. The overlay text on the footage states that “an aircraft struck the Qurtuba poultry farm area”. Sudan Witness geolocated the footage from the second video to Qurtuba poultry farm in El Gezira. The farm is situated on Wad Madani Road, 5km east of the village of Al Masid (figure 2). 


Figure 2: Geolocation of footage showing debris and damage to the Qurtuba poultry farm [15.248922,33.003949] Source: TikTok

Planet satellite imagery confirmed fire damage to the farm, as comparison of satellite imagery from 16 January and 18 January showed dark coloured patches in wooded areas to the south and east of the site appeared between these dates (figure 3). Comparing satellite imagery from 16 and 18 January also showed that a section of a structure on the farm was damaged and potentially even destroyed. The structure can be observed in full on 16 January, but only part remains on 18 January (figure 3). 


Figure 3: Satellite imagery showing damage to the ground at Qurtuba poultry farm. Source: Planet

Sentinel Hub imagery showed an effect caused by fire damage in the false colour composite between 12-17 January 2024 (figure 4), which corroborated the damage shown in planet imagery. Subsequently, Sudan Witness assessed that the incident took place between 16 and 17 January.


Figure 4: Sentinel imagery showing a false colour effect caused by fire damage between 12-17 January 2024. Source: Sentinel Hub

On 17 January 2024, the official SAF X account reposted the first video originally uploaded by the aforementioned RSF fighter's TikTok account, in which the RSF fighter claims that the SAF targeted the Qurtuba poultry farm. In the caption, the SAF took responsibility for the damage and stated that they carried out an airstrike to target “RSF soldiers in hiding”. 


The damage to the Qurtuba poultry farm in El Gezira is one example of the multiple incidents of fire and damage to farming infrastructure that have occurred throughout the conflict. On 17 January 2023, Sudan Witness also detected active heat signatures at another poultry farm, approx. 2km south of Qurtuba poultry farm, named Bahri Al Gezira Poultry farm [15.236571192846199, 32.98647498009145], using Sentinel imagery. Losing farming infrastructure could threaten civilian livelihoods in the region.

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