Khartoum — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Tuesday successfully delivered 31 prisoners of war to the Sudanese authorities in Darfur after their release by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
JEM humanitarian affairs secretary, Suleiman Jamous, announced last Sunday the readiness of his group to release 13 Southern Sudanese saying they are no longer their enemies as the South is going to be an independent state next July.
"The ICRC served as a neutral intermediary between the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement in today's handover," said Susana Lopez, the ICRC staff member who led the transfer operation.
Jamous said the other soldiers from northern Sudan are suffering from various diseases and need treatment and medical care."We decided their release for humanitarian reasons".
Prior to the transfer, the Red Cross verified that the soldiers were released of their own free will and provided medical assistance for those who were in need.
The Red Cross took part in a similar operation in Darfur earlier this year when it assisted in the handover to government authorities of two Sudanese army personnel released by another opposition faction, the Sudan Liberation Army - Abdel Wahid.
In 2010, the ICRC facilitated the handover of a total of 123 released detainees in Sudan's Darfur region, which has been gripped by armed conflict since 2003.