ICRC helps transfer Darfur prisoners

April 1, 2013 at 12:15 PM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 1 (UPI) -- A rebel force in Sudan released 31 civilians from custody from the restive region of Darfur, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC said it facilitated the transfer of civilians to Sudanese authorities. They were captured in late March by the rebel Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid while attending a regional conference on displaced people.

"The Sudanese authorities and the SLA-AW asked us to assist in the transfer in our capacity as a neutral intermediary," Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan, said in a statement.

Sandoz said the ICRC was ready to provide logistical support to any party in Sudan that requests similar assistance in the future.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir announced Monday he was releasing "all" political prisoners in the country as part of a national reconciliation drive, al-Arabiya reports. Communist Party figure Al-Shafi Khodr told the Arabic news agency that Bashir's reform measures were well short of what's expected.

Sudan has made peace deals with neighboring South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes related to the genocide in Darfur in the 2003.

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