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KHARTOUM - 8 Feb 2013

SAF to release 5 South Sudanese prisoners on Monday

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have announced that they will release five South Sudanese soldiers captured last year in a disputed area around the border with South Darfur state.

SAF accused the SPLA of an incursion into Sudanese territory as the troops were caught in Kafen Dibi.

Spokesperson for the Sudanese army, Sawarmi Khalid Saad, claimed during a press release on Wednesday, that the release of prisoners is a gesture of good will towards Juba.

Taking place on the 11th of February in Nyala, Darfur, the handover is being facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and in accordance with the Geneva conventions, which stipulate, amongst other things, how prisoners of war should be treated.

Sawarmi called on South Sudan to reciprocate the gesture, specifically calling for the release of Major General Telefone Koko, who has been held in Juba for at least two years.

He also pressed South Sudan to be prudent and withdraw immediately and unconditionally from six disputed border areas controlled by the South Sudan army.  “SAF forces are not powerless to protect their people, grains and their homeland, but we are following peaceful means,” the spokesperson warned.

Photo: Sawarmi Khalid Saad, Sudanese army spokesperson