Home | News    Thursday 19 April 2012

Kiir accepts Egypt’s plea to release Sudanese prisoners of war


April 17,2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has accepted international pleas to release Sudanese prisoners of war which the country’s army captured after taking over the contested region of Heglig.

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SAF prisoners of war at Juba airport (GoSS)

The government made the pronouncement hours after the Egyptian foreign affairs minister held talks with senior government officials including his South Sudanese counterpart, Nhial Deng Nhial, prior to meeting Kiir to deliver a message from the Egyptian government.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Kiir, the Egyptian foreign affairs minister, Mohammed Kamel Amr, said he had come to urge both countries to cease their hostilities. Many analysts now believe Sudan and South Sudan are officially at war with each other over their disputed oil-rich border areas.

“I have come to listen and learn from the leaderships of the two countries. This was why I was in Khartoum yesterday and held talks with senior government officials there. I met president Bashir and some of his cabinet members and advisors over the currently developments. I listened to him and I came to here to meet and listen to the leaderships of this country”, Amr told reporters

Speaking at the same briefing, minister Nhial Deng Nhial said his country welcomed the Egyptian initiative to visit the two countries to listen to them and see how best they can work together with others to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue.

He said South Sudan had “always been prioritising peaceful dialogue”.

Nhial then announced Kiir’s positive response to the Egyptian plea to release the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) prisoners.

“The Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] conforms to the United Nations Covenant on Prisoners of war. This has been demonstrated even during the war [1983-2005] we have released 300,000 Sudanese prisoners of war in good health”, he said.

Speaking at a separate press briefing on Monday, South Sudan’s Minister of information and broadcasting, Barnaba Marial Benjamin said his country respects international law.

“We are not an isolate of our own. We are part of the world and this is why our president responded to the calls including pleas by the Egyptian government to release prisoners of war to their families," Marial told journalists.

Marial said the prisoners of war are now ready to be released in collaboration with the Egyptian government and their return would be facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Bol Makueng, secretary of information at the secretariat of the country’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said in another interview that the prisoners are in good health.

He asked the international community to pressure the Khartoum government to "observe human rights in their treatment of South Sudanese in Khartoum and also to produce prisoners of war they have captured in the fighting."

This week the house of South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar was raided in Khartoum and seven South Sudanese arrested including an ill boy and a young girl. Sudan claims that weapons were found at the house but Machar has denied this.

On 8 April a nine month grace period for South Sudanese to either leave Sudan or formalise their status as foreign nationals expired. Presidents Kiir and Bashir were due to meet in Juba to sign a deal on citizenship rights and security but Khartoum cancelled the trip after clashes erupted around Heglig at the end of March.

Both sides accuse the other of starting the fighting that has since escalated dramatically.

Khartoum claims that Sudanese rebels backed by Juba helped the SPLA take Heglig a week ago. This is denied by Juba but photos from the Associated Press news agency appear to show fighters from Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement in Heglig on 15 April.

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This photo of Sunday, April 15, 2012, shows a soldier from the Darfuri rebel group Justice and Equality Movement at a South Sudanese position in Heglig (AP)

JEM, two other Darfur rebel groups and the SPLM-North operating in South Kordofan and Blue Nile formed a coalition earlier this year aiming to overthrow the Khartoum regime. The SPLM-N fought with the SPLA in the Sudanese civil war, which ended in 2005 and are still back by some elements of the Juba government according to research group the Small Arms Survey.

Juba denies this and says that Khartoum is using South Sudanese rebels as proxies to destabilise the young country, especially around its oil fields in Unity State. The Small Arms Survey also state that there is evidence that Khartoum is supporting these groups - although this is also denied.

Makueng also called on the international community to investigate the recent instructions given by South Kordofan governor, Ahmed Haroun, to the Sudanese Army not bring back any captured prisoners of war alive.

The comments broadcast by Al Jazeera appear to indicate Haroun, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes in Darfur, was encouraging the army to break the Geneva conventions on the conduct of war.


Al Jazeera English | South Sudan captures prisoners of war from North | 15 April 2012

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  • 19 April 2012 08:24, by Madina Tonj

    President Salva Kiir Manyardit must follow the constitution, you can not take law in to your hand this is absolutely none practical law and it is wrongful. Failure for President Salva Kiir to follow the constitution written would result a big problems. You can not and you must not release prisners of war while those who capture them are still facing difficult on frontline.

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    • 19 April 2012 09:01, by Dinkawarrior

      President must not allow the POWs to go back before the war end! It’s wrong idea and we must not agree with Kiir! Egypt are playing the dirty game between South and North Sudan! They sent their weapons and their troops to Khartoum to fight against us!

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      • 19 April 2012 09:19, by Lango2010

        next time the citizen should be ask to put their views and the final decision will then come from the authorities. let not lost hope for this single mistake made. we are still in full momentum.

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      • 19 April 2012 11:21, by Fallensoilder

        Brothers and sisters we must realise that we have an international community. Showing that we too have respect to human life is a must we can not be complete barbaric let them spread the word in Khartoum that junub al Sudan is not playing games this time, this prisoners are very lucky indeed to be alive most of them were cut down. General James Gatduel Gatluak/ comred god is with u. SPLA oyeee

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        • 19 April 2012 21:16, by Dinka Aliap Chawul

          \m/()\m/! ! Kíìr has betrayed all our opinions,constitutions,thoughts and bloods of our heroics soldiers wounded and dying as a result of brutal assault careout by such fake Arabs.please,respects the dead and the wounded Mr president if u dont respects constitution and the living people of SS.i lost ma cousin in yesterday assault(18/04/12) on Panthou.tRue tRaiTor!.what a shame!

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    • 19 April 2012 09:14, by Lango2010

      indeed something is wrong here i supposed this prisoners could stay in as captives until Khartoum admit the defeat and later release. in 1997 OTB operation thousand of POW were let free a year later after bashir clear told the world that lost most area from Kaya to mile 40
      we have indeed made prematured this decision of releasing these prisoners

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    • 19 April 2012 12:51, by Robot

      Madina Tonj,
      Don’t worry, this people, some of them will never accept to go back because ruthless Bashir will execute them, if not they will preach Southerners hospitality and won’t vow to go to front line again to fight the same people that freed them...if they do, do you think they will escape the first bullets fired?.

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    • 19 April 2012 13:49, by Loko El Pollo


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    • 19 April 2012 16:21, by Thiang Geka

      Kiir is realy has a global understanding.

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      • 19 April 2012 21:53, by Ruach

        Bahir is a noisy ptresident.What a president!!

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    • 20 April 2012 04:38, by Bak0023

      I guess as the South Sudanese we can agree that POW should not be release while the fighting is still going on.Our government will and should understand our objection to the release of POW. Any release of POW will show the weakness of our government to the the world,and could even disappointing Army at the front line. Isreali have POW since the dispute over the Palestine untill today.So let’s lear

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  • 19 April 2012 08:26, by kaci-banno

    the pride of Arab in sudan was introduced by Eygpt to them, what kind of help that will come from Eygpyt? cheating or confusion, please solve your own internal problem than Sudanese sitautions.

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    • 19 April 2012 10:02, by Ruach

      It is not a time to release the prisoner of war.The President is wrong with his decision.These war prisoners should be protected and sholud be kept in a good health.They are not keeping our pple they captured alive.They killed them all,but we are peaceful nation.

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  • 19 April 2012 08:41, by Sundayw

    Following the laws of war, we always treat PoWs with decency and respect. However, fugitive governor Ahmed Haroun is on the record advocating murder of PoWs! Where was Egypt when gallant JEM PoWs were captured and murdered in Omdurman without trial? Only a dozen were tried in a kangaroo court where the NCP security was the judge, jury, and executioner.

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  • 19 April 2012 09:28, by E. Defense Forces
    • 19 April 2012 19:35, by zulu

      ST, A photo does not mean anything in this time and age. Techonology is so advanced that you can put and paste any picture including that of Beshir being captured by the Americans.
      Do not report without verification because it will draw so many readers away from your site. Thus, JEM or any rebel movement operates independently though Khartoum has accused Uganda of helping SPLA when it is differn

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  • 19 April 2012 09:35, by Tambura

    Let Egyptian withdraw from Heliab than they can be qualified to be peace maker between us. They have their aganda too. Arabs jarab...dead one is a good one, never trust anyone of them...

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  • 19 April 2012 12:27, by Smith

    I do agree that President is wrong but he might be following this order which is proven in wars and is a responsibility of hospitable and strong army general do during the war " as a strong army you have to excute Generous Victory" this is done by British and US....this is down simultaneously during the war. this can also demoralize your enemy and the families will not allow their kids to war agai

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  • 19 April 2012 12:28, by Smith

    We also need to pressurize the world on the recent statements by Mohamed Harun and his criminals in Khartoum that, they should not cause administrative burden and ordered SAF to kill anyone including civilians...we are proud for our professional army........

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  • 19 April 2012 14:14, by Hitler

    I echo the same sentiments presented by my compatriots. While, it is important that we follow our obligation to international law, one thing must be clear. Must must be able to stand on our own and make decisions where we are solely accountable for. In the first place, these guys are not political detainees, they are EPW. We agree that they should be held in accordance with Geneve Convention, but

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  • 19 April 2012 14:22, by Hitler

    the time is not right to set them free now. US are still holding EPWs in Qantanomo bays simply because they present threats to their national securty interest. Why are these jalabas different. In the first place, Bahsir has never released a single PW since we fought the govt; we released theirs, now again we are doing the same mistake. These guys are captured because they are killing our chid..wom

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  • 19 April 2012 14:27, by Hitler

    Let no other governments leads us like children. Egypt itself is still holding innocent Americans, whose crimes are they are helping the egypian people, in their jails. What does it pretend to preach here. They and British are responsible for the wrong policy that led to millions of our people dead over decades. Nothing they can teach us at this point. let them go to hell.

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  • 19 April 2012 16:23, by amokraanthiec ooyee

    Guys you are all right Mr.President should not take unilateral decision to release these so called Holy-warriorsmajadin yet they are killing our people in Khartoum right now and they war is not over.Why doesn’t he refused like the way he reject Baki Moon request? Egyptians are they origin of our slavery yet bastard Bash it is calling us insects because we released their prisoners.

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  • 19 April 2012 19:12, by BM Bol

    I totally agree with most people here. One of the POWs was asked what he’s going to do if he returns to Khartoum and his response was he’s going to rejoin the army because it’s his destiny. In other words, he would return and kill South Sudanese if he gets a chance.

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  • 19 April 2012 20:32, by emadven

    How could you free them just because Egypt told u to do so.. The war is not over yet..

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  • 19 April 2012 20:33, by Dinka Aliap Chawul

    Mr president! Why are we so cheive in dealing with international issues like laws on war?.why soft in dealing with Arabs?.This matter will undoubtedly disappoints many man in uniforms who put their lives in a death row daily for defend of the nation’s many interests.am too disappointed and regret ma cousin who was just killed in yesterday’s assault(18/4/2012) by SAF at panthou.so ashame indeed!

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  • 20 April 2012 01:29, by Deng

    Uganda pledge to intervene if Sudan attack S. Sudan.
    great Job Mr Mseveni.

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  • 20 April 2012 05:00, by never

    not too past mr. president. we have a lots of spla soldiers been capture since the war started and we never heard of them since the day the where capture.

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