L-R: Gen. Kuol Deng Abot, Col. Philip Aguer and Melker Mabeck (ICRC Head of Delegation) signing the release documents in Juba [©Gurtong/ Waakhe Wudu]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 26th April 2012 [Gurtong]
“This process was organized by the Ministry of Defence and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) general headquarters to handover the prisoners of war that were captured by the SPLA forces in Heglig to the Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan then later handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, (ICRC),” Col. Philip Aguer, SPLA Spokesperson told journalists in Juba.
Fighting between the two countries of Sudan and South Sudan intensified this month along the border resulting in the destruction of oil fields, loss of lives and displacement of civilians.
The SAF captives were brought to Juba ten days ago with others nursing serious wounds that involved dislocated arms, legs and one had two bullets locked in his socket joint during the clash.
Aguer explained that the captives act as an evidence of Sudan’s military aggression on South Sudan. During the handover to the ICRC, the captives were all dressed in new civilian clothes; their wounds treated and bought new bags for packing their old uniforms.
“Am happy now that am returning home and resume my duties in Khartoum, am still going back to the army in order to save the country,” said Lt. Khalid Hassan Ahamed a commander among the captives.
The captive’s handover was prior to efforts expressed by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to facilitate their return back home. The South Sudanese government spokesperson Dr. Barnaba Marial earlier on expressed the need to handover the captives in order to ease peace and cooperation between the two countries.
Gen. Kuol Deng Abot, an official from the Defence Ministry reiterated the government’s concerns and call for Egypt to facilitate the return of the captives.
Moyad Eldalie the Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan said, “We hope that this process will help in getting the situation calm between Sudan and South Sudan. Eldalie expressed Egypt’s commitment to facilitate the return of the SAF captives by SAF.
ICRC affirmed their commitment to facilitate the captive’s release, hand them over to the Sudanese government and to ensure that they get reintegrated with their families.