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  • Writer's pictureSudan Witness

Fire at Sufyan Oil Field, East Darfur

Updated: Feb 16

لقراءة المقال بالعربيةلقراءة المقال بالعربية

Fire at Sufyan Oil Field, East Darfur_احتراق حقل سفيان النفطي، شرق دارفور (3)
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Sufyan Oil Field [11.6880134, 26.66774208]

Figure 1: Location of Sufyan oil field

Summary: 

  • A pro-RSF Facebook account posted a video to Facebook showing a gathering of 20 people, who appear to be celebrating and firing guns in the air. A large plume of smoke can be seen in the background.

  • The footage shows At least four of the group are wearing uniforms belonging to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

  • Sudan Witness geolocated a video to Sufyan Oil Field, East Darfur. 

  • Multiple heat signatures were observed over the Sufyan oil field on 20 November 2023. Satellite imagery confirmed severe fire damage to the facility between 20 and 21 November 2023. 

  • In another video, an RSF fighter claims that the Sufyan oil field had been seized.


The conflict between the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has resulted in the destruction of important infrastructure. Sudan Witness has been closely monitoring online content to verify these incidents. 


On 20 November 2023, media outlet the Ayin News Network reported clashes between the SAF and the RSF around oil fields in East Darfur. On the same date, a pro-RSF Facebook account posted a video of a group of armed men celebrating the alleged takeover of the oilfield, with a large, black plume of smoke in the background. Sudan Witness geolocated the video to the northeastern section of the Sufyan oil field in East Darfur (figure 2). This is five km northwest of Gad es Sid, the nearest settlement, and approximately 60 kilometres (km) northeast of Ed Daein, the capital of East Darfur state (see figure 1).


Figure 2: Geolocation of video showing a large build up of armed men at Abu Sufyan oil field [11.6880134,26.66774208] Source: Facebook

Sudan Witness confirmed that fires began on 20 November 2023 through NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), which detected seven heat signatures over the oil field on this date.


Figure 3: NASA FIRMS data showing seven heat signatures on 20 November 2023. Source: NASA FIRMS

The oil facility itself was damaged between 20 and 21 November 2023. Planet satellite imagery showed that two of the three large silos in the southwest of the facility were damaged in that period (figure 4).


Figure 4: Satellite imagery of Abu Sufyan oil field on 20 and 21 November 2023 showing the damaged silos in the southwestern corner. Source: Planet

At least four of the men in the video were wearing RSF military uniforms, which feature a tricolour desert pattern and a Sudanese flag on the left shoulder (figure 5). Additionally, in a separate piece of footage, posted on a pro-SAF X (formerly Twitter) on 23 November 2023, an armed man in RSF uniform stated: “Today is the 20th of November 2023, the Sufyan oil field, the largest oil field, has been captured”. These two videos indicate that the RSF were likely involved in the fire at Sufyan oil field. 


Figure 5: Men wearing RSF uniforms, identified by the tri-coloured desert pattern with a patch of the Sudanese flag on the left shoulder (Source: X)

Multiple reports have emerged of attacks on basic facilities including healthcare centres, water and energy supplies, and schools since the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan in April 2023. At least 12,000 civilians have died and 6.6 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to the UN.

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