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Darfur peace mediator welcomes release of 60 Sudanese soldiers


July 19, 2009 (PARIS) – The African Union-United Nations Joint Mediator for Darfur peace process has welcomed the release of 60 Sudanese soldiers by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Friday.

Djibril Bassolé

The Red Cross serving as a neutral intermediary, announced on Friday the transfer of 55 army soldiers and five police officers, who had been captured by JEM, to the Sudanese authorities.

The move comes despite the stalemate of talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels over the release of JEM fighters that Khartoum refuses to free at the current stage of the peace process.

Djibril Bassolé welcomed on Saturday the release of 60 Sudanese troops held by the rebels and expressed his appreciation to the move adding "I hope it would boost efforts to create conducive environment for talks between the two parties in Doha peace process."

Speaking with Sudan Tribune from Ouagadougou, the joint mediator also reiterated his call on the Sudanese government, and JEM, to continue cooperating with the Red Cross to release those who are still held.

Sudan and JEM concluded an agreement of confidence building measures on February 17 stipulating that the two parties commit themselves to release the prisoners of war and to improve humanitarian situation of the displaced population in Darfur.

Following the signing of the goodwill agreement the two parties announced the release o 20 prisoners but without the intervention of a neutral body.

The release of the 60 POWs had been decided unilaterally by the rebel movement in May when its delegation went back to Doha for talks on the implementation of the goodwill agreement.

"The handover was undertaken in accordance with international laws and was fully supervised by the ICRC," said the military spokes person of the rebel group, Ali Al-Wafi.

In a statement issued today he further said "JEM hopes that this unilateral action will encourage its peace partner to rise to the challenge and abide by the Good Will Agreement of February 2009."

Khartoum, which did not comment on the release of 60 POWs, refuses to free JEM fighters who are sentenced to death. The Sudanese government says it would only release them gradually when the rebel movement signs a ceasefire agreement.


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  • 20 July 2009 05:20, by Kur

    I do not think the Sudanese government protects those capured in the war zone. They never had prisoners of war with the SPLA because they killed all the SPLA soldiers captured in the battle field.But the SPLA protected and released the janjaweed soldiers captured in the gighting. In the near future they will say that they never captured any soldiers of JEM. I do not expect the savage, primitive regime that believes in killing and rape of women and children to keep alive those who fought against it.


    • 20 July 2009 06:15, by oshay

      That is such a lie, the SPLA either killed, tortured or starved to death soldiers from the North. Even the government has said that the SPLA has killed 1000 soldiers in captivity.

      • 20 July 2009 10:21, by Leo Abi

        I think the Sudanese government in Khartoum will one time paralise all the institutions seeking human freedom, taking back the struggle by human minded personalities who offered everything they could to one day see that all human are free are have all their rights as human being.

        The international bodies, say the the Durfur Peace mediator hail the release of the government soldiers but say nothing about the non-release of the JEM fighters some of whom are sentenced to death. Why can’t this bodies press hard on those whho do not implement the agreement signed? What is the use of signing those agreements if not to be implemented? Why waste money to sponsor the peace talks? Taking all the records of agreements signed by Sudan government, not even ten per cent has been implemented.

        If the international bodies continue to dance to the tune of Sudan thinking they (international bodies) will lure the Sudan government sign agreements that they will not implement, then is waste of time, money and resources.

        Please, international bodies, open your eyes on the Sudan government! lest you will one morning wake up to see the vast land covered by human bodies slained by the Sudan government and I don’t know if you will join with Sudan government to celebrate the death or you sit back and watch or maurn with relatives of the slained.

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