September 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has announced the release of all detainees and Prisoners of War (POWs) from government forces in response to appeals from religious leaders, civil society organizations and prestigious national figures.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, JEM spokesperson Gibril Adam Bilal said the decision to release the detainees and the POWs is an attempt to contribute to the creation of a climate conducive for peace and a genuine national dialogue.
He said that JEM has embarked on making the administrative arrangements and contacts with the mediators to secure the transfer of the detainees and POWs to Khartoum.
Bilal added the decision coincides with the celebration of Eid al-Adha “Festival of the Sacrifice”, saying this is not the first time the JEM releases POWs or granting amnesty to convicts.
Late last month, JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim promised to release POWs from government forces at the request of a Sufi Islamic cleric.
On 10 August, the leader of the Kabashi Sufi sect Abdel-Wahab al-Khalifa al-Hibir al-Kabashi sent a letter to JEM’s leader appealing to him to release government POWs.
In a letter he wrote in response to al-Kbashi’s message, Ibrahim said he appreciates the latter’s request, pointing the religious leader and the POWs families would soon hear good news in this regard.
JEM’s decision came hours ahead of an announcement made by the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir to release child soldiers from rebel groups and to consider the release of all POWs.
Political advisor of the (JEM-Dabago), a breakaway group from JEM, Nahar Osman Nahar, had earlier told Sudan Tribune that more than 100 POWs and detainees are currently being held in JEM’s prisons including former members of the executive office and commanders from the movement such as Hashim Haroun besides other civilian detainees.
He said that nine detainees from JEM-Dabago are still detained by JEM after 9 others managed to flee from the movement’s prisons in Deim Zubeir Camp in Western Bahr el Ghazal region, South Sudan.