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Sudan: ICRC visits Sudanese soldiers held by armed opposition group

27-08-2013 News Release 140/13

Khartoum/Geneva (ICRC) – On 26 August, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegates visited Sudanese government soldiers held in Darfur by the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdelwahid an-Nur faction (SLA-AW), an armed opposition group.

"The ICRC visits detainees to check on their conditions of detention and ensure that they are treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international standards," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. Following such visits, the ICRC discusses its findings and recommendations exclusively with those concerned. As part of its services to detainees, the ICRC facilitates the exchange of Red Cross messages containing family news between those detained and their families. During this visit, 10 such messages were distributed and 17 were collected.

The armed opposition group also released one of the detained soldiers, who was ill. Serving in its capacity as a neutral intermediary, and at the request of the SLA-AW and the government authorities, the ICRC arranged for the released soldier to be transferred to Nyala by helicopter. He was accompanied by his wife and three children and by ICRC personnel. In Nyala he was placed in the care of the Sudanese authorities. "We are ready to facilitate further handovers, if all parties agree and request us to do so," said Mr Sandoz.

The ICRC has facilitated the repatriation of a number of prisoners of war released by Sudan and South Sudan since 2012. It has also facilitated the handover of Sudanese and foreign detainees and hostages released by armed opposition groups in Darfur.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2003 it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:
Adil Sharif, ICRC Khartoum (for Arabic), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 91 213 77 64
Umar Phiri, ICRC Khartoum (for English), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 912 178 943
Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 78 or +41 79 536 92 31