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Central African Republic: 18 detainees released under ICRC auspices

28-06-2011 News Release 11/146

Bangui/Geneva (ICRC) – In an operation that took place yesterday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the transfer and release of 18 people held by the Popular Front for Reconstruction.

All were members of the Popular Army for the Restoration of the Republic and Democracy who had been detained after recent clashes in the Kaga-Bandoro area, in the north-central part of the Central African Republic. They were released in the presence of the authorities from Nana Gribizi prefecture and the Popular Army.

"The success of the operation demonstrates the trust that the groups present in the Central African Republic and the national authorities place in the ICRC and in its role as a neutral intermediary," said Katharina Ritz, the head of the ICRC delegation in the country.

The ICRC organized the transfer and release at the request of the parties. It did not take part in the negotiations that led to the detainees being released.

"We talked to the detainees in private before they were released to make sure that they were being handed over of their own free will," said Ms Ritz.

Between 18 and 19 June, the Central African Red Cross Society recorded the arrival in Kaga-Bandoro of more than 1,500 people displaced by the clashes. The ICRC registered 15 children who had been separated from their parents during the displacement. Together with the Central African Red Cross, it succeeded in reuniting seven of the children with their families and in restoring contact between two others and close relatives.

For further information, please contact:
Ewan Watson, ICRC Bangui, tel: +236 72 07 69 64
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 53 69 258