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Sudan: Handover of 31 civilians in Darfur

By International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Thirty-one civilians were released today by the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) in Darfur, Sudan. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated their handover to the Sudanese authorities.

The civilians were taken on 24 March while travelling from Zalingay to Nyala to attend a conference for internally displaced persons.

"The Sudanese authorities and the SLA-AW asked us to assist in the transfer in our capacity as a neutral intermediary," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. Those released were accompanied by ICRC personnel as they were transported by helicopter to Zalingay, where they were handed over to the Sudanese authorities.

"We stand ready to provide logistical support of this kind for any similar operation in the future should parties to the conflict request us to do so," said Mr Sandoz.

The ICRC has frequently served as a neutral intermediary in Sudan. From February 2012 to March 2013, it facilitated the handover of dozens of people, including prisoners of war released by the Sudanese authorities, foreign workers, members of the Sudanese armed forces and others captured by armed groups.