December 2, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The last batch of twenty two Prisoners of War (POWs) from the Sudanese army who were released by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has arrived on Thursday in Khartoum.
Last month, JEM announced the release of all detainees and POWs from government forces and breakaway factions in response to appeals from religious leaders, civil society organizations and prestigious national figures.
Government sources told Sudan Tribune that the arrival of the final group of POWs on Thursday has brought the number of the released to 22 prisoners, saying most of them are from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and other regular forces.
The POWs have been transferred by road from their detention camp in South Sudan to North Kordofan state capital, El-Obeid and from there they were flown to Khartoum.
Lt. Col. Ihab Abdel-Mun’im, who spoke on behalf of the released POWs upon arrival at Khartoum airport, thanked the JEM for the good treatment, saying “Sudan is a capacious country and its territory could accommodate everybody”.
It is noteworthy that Abdel-Mun’im had spent 9 years in captivity.
On 3 November, four former rebel commanders of the Justice and Equality Movement - Dabajo (JEM-Dabajo) returned to Khartoum after their release by JEM.
The splinter commanders had been detained after clashes with their former comrades on the border between Chad and Sudan in May 2013. The faction leader Mohamed Bashar and his deputy Arko Suleiman Dahia were killed during the fighting.
Last September, President Omer al-Bashir announced the release of twenty one children allegedly detained during the Gouz Dango battle with the JEM in April 2014.
However the rebel group denied that these children were part of its fighters reiterating its commitment to international conventions banning the use of child soldiers.