February 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The spokesperson of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, announced on Wednesday that they plan to release five prisoners of war (POW) from South Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA).
- Spokesperson of the Sudan Armed Forces Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Col Sa’ad said the five soldiers were captured in mid-2012 in an area called Kafan Dibi, which is part of South Darfur state, during an incursion attempt by the SPLA. It is one of the border regions that are in dispute between Khartoum and Juba.
Darfur rebels fighting Khartoum since 2003 reportedly managed to occupy Kafan Dibi briefly in May of last year before the SAF recaptured it.
Sudan accused SPLA of taking part in the fighting alongside the rebels.
The army spokesman said releasing the POW’s was made as a gesture of goodwill and urged Juba to do the same and free SAF prisoners in its custody. He specifically named Brigadier Telefon Kuku who was an SPLM commander from the Nuba Mountains before falling out with its leadership.
Khartoum launched a campaign two years ago calling for his release from jail in South Sudan where he is being held without charges.
The SPLA POW’s will be handed over in the South Darfur capital city of Nyala next Monday through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Col Sa’ad said.
He went on to say that Sudan expects South Sudan to demonstrate “prudence and foresight” by withdrawing immediately and unconditionally from six disputed regions it controls, stressing that the SAF is not incapable of protecting the gains of the people and the homeland.