Government hands over nine prisoners of war to Sudan

By Bida Elly David

The government of South Sudan yesterday made an official handing over of nine prisoners of war to the Sudanese government through its Embassy in Juba.

The prisoners of war were earlier captured by the SPLM/North of General Abdel Aziz Adam Al-Hilu for having committed atrocities at the Nuba Mountains.

They were surrendered to the South Sudan government where they had been kept under detention for safety purpose.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Amor Amon, the Secretary General of the SPLM North said the 9 prisoners were captured during a heavy battle against them (SPLM/N) in their areas.

He pointed out that the victims emerged from people’s defense forces, a rebel group that was formed to counter against their movement.

“These youth are the people’s defense forces. They had ID cards, wearing uniforms and carrying all sort of guns including artilleries. We captured them in Nuba Mountains after a heavy battle in SPLM areas. Eventually we had wanted to release them but they waged heavy battle,” he said.

Amon pointed out that they handed the prisoners to the government of South Sudan due to lack of trust they had for the Khartoum government upon the safety of the prisoners.

He underscored their plans to hand them to the Red Cross but later revived their decision and trusted South Sudan for the safety of the captives.

“We handed them to South Sudan government because we didn’t know what would happen to them. We don’t trust the government of Khartoum and it was known all over the media that those people were under our hands and we need to give them to hands where they feel more secure till they reach their families,” he said.

He further revealed that SPLM-North still remained committed to undertake further peace talks with the Khartoum government since they have declared ceasefire as a step to end violence.

He has also called on the government to release some of their people captured during the clashes.

However, Amon did not point out the statistics of their members captured by the Sudanese government.

“We are ready for the mediation team to call for us for peace talks with the government of Khartoum at any time. We last met for dialogue in June 2021. We don’t have detainees with us but government has not released any single person throughout the years of war, eleven years now. We don’t know whether some of them are in custody or killed,” he noted.

On his part, Tut Gatluak Manime, the presidential advisor on national security affairs said that the prisoners were formerly arrested by SPLA-North and handed over to them for custody.

“You have been following what has been happening in Sudan amid the political disputes. Civil government is not there up to now and we had to return back into dialogue with the military and political leaderships to form a new government that would continue with the national dialogue for them to reach consensus,” he said.

Tut said South Sudan people’s defense forces showed commitment to mediate talks between the Sudanese conflicting sides without any compromise but it was violated.

“We as government have accomplished our mission keeping them with us and finally released them to the Sudanese government to be flown back home and join their families. We also need to thank SPLA North for having referred these prisoners of war under our custody and officially accepting them to go back. We remain committed to work with the Sudanese government as close friends,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jamal Malek, the Sudanese Ambassador to South Sudan appreciated President Salva Kiir, Tut Gatluak for having committed themselves for the mediation of the peace talks between the conflicting parties.

“I appreciate the government of South Sudan for the role they played towards peace. We as the government of Sudan are happy and remain committed to ensure that peace prevails to the Sudanese people. We have to make sure that security and peace prevail in the country,’’ he said

He finally welcomed the handing over of the captives and appreciated the leadership of the SPLM-North and the government of South Sudan for handing over the prisoners of war.

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