Conflicts & War

125 Sudanese soldiers held by rebel forces released, ICRC says

Cairo, June 29 (EFE).- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday that it had facilitated the release of 125 soldiers of the Sudanese Armed Forces, held captive by the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) during an ongoing war between the two sides that broke out in mid-April.

The humanitarian organization said the soldiers were released on Wednesday on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, one of the two main Islamic festivals.

ICRC mediated the prisoners’ release at the request of the parties to the conflict, it said.

“This positive step means that families will be celebrating Eid-al Adha with their loved ones. We stand ready to act as a neutral intermediary for the release of detainees from all sides to the conflict whenever requested,” Jean Christophe Sandoz, ICRC’s head of delegation in Sudan said in a statement.

ICRC’s teams conducted a health checkup of the detainees, including 44 wounded soldiers, to ensure that they were fit to travel.

The organization later transported the released soldiers by bus from Khartoum to the relatively safe Wad Madani, located south of the capital, where many Sudanese have taken refuge from the conflict.

On June 26, the ICRC also facilitated the release of 14 wounded people detained in Al Fasher, Darfur, in western Sudan, one of the worst hit regions in the conflict that broke out between the Sudanese armed forces and RSF on Apr. 15.

On Tuesday, the RSF announced it would release “100 prisoners of war from the Sudanese Armed Forces, who were deceived by their defeated and cowering leadership and were forced to fight a battle that was not theirs.”

However, a two-day ceasefire agreed upon on Tuesday by the warring factions on the occasion of Eid al-Adha was violated the following day with continuous shelling and airstrikes in Khartoum.

Since the start of the war, the parties to the conflict have violated nearly all the humanitarian ceasefires, despite having promised to the mediators to ensure the flow of aid and protect civilians and humanitarian personnel.

The ongoing conflict has forced the displacement of nearly 3 million people inside and outside the country.

It has also killed more than 1,173 civilians and wounded another 11,704, according to the United Nations. EFE


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