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SPLM-N chief orders release of all POW’s

December 18, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) Malik Agar has issued a directive today by which all Prisoners of Wars are to be released from the movement’s custody.

Malik Agar, head of the northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - Reuters

The rebel movement fighting Sudanese government forces said that the move was to keep “with the laws of war and international norms, as stipulated in the Geneva Protocols governing the treatment of prisoners of war”.

“The Chairman has made this move with a humane conscience and an ethical stance that is a cornerstone of the mores of the SPLM-N” the press release signed by SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Ngtullu Lodi said.

The SPLM-N will soon be in contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to begin implementation of this order.

Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) has been battling SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan state since early June. The conflict later extended to include Blue Nile state where SAF last month seized the SPLM-N’s stronghold of Al-Kurmuk on the borders with Ethiopia.

The two states lie on Sudan’s borders with the newly established state of South Sudan. They are home to communities that largely fought alongside southerners in the civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace deal that paved the way for the south’s independence in July this year.

Officials in Khartoum including president Omer Hassan al-Bashir have ruled out any negotiations with SPLM-N and even scrapped an accord brokered by an African Union (AU) panel in June.

Yesterday the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi called for renewed negotiations between the SPLM-N and Khartoum.

The SPLM-N rebels who formed an alliance with Darfur rebel groups last November say they want now a comprehensive process to address the root-causes of Sudan’s problem and called for a regime change.

“The movement continues to work side by side with the forces of the Sudan Revolutionary Front to change the regime in Khartoum, in order to end the rule of the brutal and dictatorial regime that unceasingly violates the human rights of Sudanese citizens and perpetrates the most egregious crimes against its people. Such actions have placed its leaders at the top of the list of those wanted by the international justice system”.