April 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Thirteen Sudanese military personnel who were detained in Heglig will arrive to Khartoum on Thursday, the foreign ministry announced here today.
The prisoners of war (POWs) were detained when South Sudanese troops captured the oil-producing town on 10 April and then were flown to Juba from Heglig by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) - South Sudan’s army.
Rahamtallah Mohammed Osman, undersecretary of the foreign affairs ministry told reporters that the POWs will arrive from Cairo, underscoring that their release was coordinated by Egypt, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
A photo posted on the social networking site, facebook showed the POWs dressed in new clothes, new bags, and got paid by the ICRC for transportation whey arrive in Khartoum.
Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman stated that South Sudanese president Salva Kiir agreed to free the POWs from the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) after Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Amro, shuttled between Khartoum and Juba in an attempt to bring the two sides to the negotiating table, but he failed to do so.
Meanwhile, SAF spokesperson, al-Sawarmi Khaled told the official news agency, SUNA, that the POWs were captured from Heglig hospital, along with the hospital’s medical team. "They were sick and detained on the 10th of April, not the 20th of April as said by SPLA."
He added that South Sudanese POWs will be treated in accordance with international conventions.
The Sudanese army retook control of Heglig ten days later as Juba announced the withdrawal of its troops after heavy clashes with SAF. Khartoum claimed to have killed over 1,000 SPLA soldiers during the fighting between the two armies.
Sudan’s armed forces came under heavy criticism when South Kordofan government, Ahmed Haroun, told troops in a video obtained by Al Jazeera not to create a administrative burden by bringing POWs.
"Swept, rubbed, crushed. Don’t bring them back alive", he said. But Haroun later accused Al Jazeera of fabricating the video.
Al Jazeera Video: South Sudan captures prisoners of war from North