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Darfur group promises to release POWs at religious leader’s request


August 28, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim has promised to release Prisoners of War (POWs) from government forces at the request of a Sufi Islamic cleric.

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JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim talks to reporters in Addis Ababa on 13 August 2016 (ST Photo)

On 10 August, the leader of the Kabashi Sufi sect Abdel-Wahab al-Khalifa al-Hibir al-Kabashi sent a letter to JEM’s leader appealing to him to release government POWs.

In a letter he wrote in response to al-Kbashi’s message, Ibrahim said he appreciates the latter’s request, pointing the religious leader and the POWs families would soon hear good news in this regard.

According to the political advisor of the (JEM-Dabago), a breakaway group from JEM, Nahar Osman Nahar, more than 100 POWs and detainees are currently being held in JEM’s prisons including former members of the executive office and commanders from the movement such as Hashim Haroun besides other civilian detainees.

He told Sudan Tribune that nine detainees from JEM-Dabago are still detained by JEM after 9 others managed to flee from the movement’s prisons in Deim Zubeir Camp in Western Bahr el Ghazal region, South Sudan. 

For his part, JEM-Dabago leading figure Issa Mohamed Issa said that JEM currently detains 48 people besides a similar number of POWs from the Sudanese army.

Issa, who escaped from JEM prisons in South Sudan, added the movement had more than once in the past released government POWs through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He called upon the humanitarian groups and the international community to check on the conditions of the detainees at JEM prisons.

JEM-Bashar, a breakaway group from JEM, inked a peace agreement negotiated with the Sudanese government on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in the Qatari capital in 2013.

Following that, JEM killed the leader of JEM-Bashar, Mohamed Bashar, and his deputy Suleiman Arko, and detained more than 20 others in an attack near the Chadian border while they were returning to Khartoum.

JEM-Bashar subsequently appointed Bakheit Abdallah Dabago as Bashar’s successor.


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