September 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Khartoum government released 19 South Sudanese prisoners of war (POWs), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement published on Wednesday.
- Sudanese soldiers, who were held as prisoners of war in South Sudan, sit upon arrival at Khartoum airport overnight on April 26, 2012 (GETTY)
The armies of the two countries clashed last April when the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) stormed the oil producing area of Heglig /Panthou accusing the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of carrying out attacks inside the South Sudanese territory; as Khartoum says Juba harbours Sudanese rebels.
"In its capacity as neutral intermediary, the ICRC helped the prisoners of war to return home after obtaining their consent," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.
The prisoners of war were transported aboard an ICRC aircraft from Sudan to South Sudan, where they were handed to the South Sudanese authorities.
In April, the Red Cross facilitated the repatriation of 13 Sudanese prisoners of war arrested at the Heglig hospital with some members of the medical team after their release by the South Sudanese authorities.
The Sudanese army retook control of Heglig ten days later as Juba announced the withdrawal of its troops after heavy clashes with SAF.
Al Jazeera Video: South Sudan captures prisoners of war from North