11 February 2013

Sudan: ICRC Facilitates Repatriation of South Sudan Prisoners

Geneva — Sudan has released five prisoners of war (POWs) from South Sudan and repatriated them to their country in a move facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 11 February.

Upon their arrival in Juba, the five ex-prisoners, accompanied by an ICRC delegate, were handed over to South Sudanese authorities, an ICRC press release says.

"We are glad that these five men were able to return to their country," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. "We will offer logistical support for such repatriations in future as well, should there be a need for it."

In April 2012, the ICRC helped repatriate 13 Sudanese ex-prisoners of war after the South Sudanese authorities had released them, and in September it helped repatriate 19 South Sudanese prisoners of war released by Sudan, as quoted in the statement.

On 8 February, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) announced they would release five South Sudanese soldiers captured last year in a disputed area around the border with South Darfur state, Radio Tamazuj reported.

SAF accused the southern army SPLA of an incursion into Sudanese territory as the troops were caught in Kafen Dibi.

Spokesperson for the Sudanese army, Sawarmi Khalid Saad, claimed previously during a press release that the release of prisoners was a gesture of good will towards Juba and asked South Sudan to reciprocate the gesture.

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