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Sudan: ICRC arranges for transfer of released soldiers

11-01-2011 News Release 11/04

Khartoum (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today facilitated the handover of two Sudanese armed forces personnel to government authorities in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. The two had been held by the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), an armed opposition group that has been fighting Sudanese government forces in Darfur since 2004.

"At the request of both the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdul Wahid and the Sudanese government, we agreed to help with the transfer of the two freed detainees," said Susana Lopez, of the ICRC's Khartoum delegation, who organized the operation. "We assisted on purely humanitarian grounds in our role as a neutral intermediary."

This role implies that the ICRC does not take part in negotiations over the release of detainees but, upon request, it may serve as a liaison between the parties to a conflict and assist them with the practical arrangements involved in a handover.

In 2010, the ICRC facilitated the handover of 123 released detainees in the Darfur region of Sudan. The ICRC remains committed to providing support for any similar operation in the future should the parties ask it to do so.

In accordance with standard procedure, ICRC staff spoke privately to each of the released soldiers to confirm that they were being handed over of their own free will. ICRC medical staff were on hand to administer first aid if necessary.

The ICRC has been working in Darfur since 2004, where it provides assistance for victims of the armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:
Aleksandra Matijevic Mosimann, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 912 170 576
Adil Sharif (for Arabic), ICRC Khartoum, tel: +20 1 87 42 43 44 or +249 91 213 77 64
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2063 or +41 79 217 3217