GENEVA, Switzerland, September 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has assisted in the transfer of 18 Sudanese Armed Forces personnel released by the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), an armed opposition group in Darfur. The soldiers were handed over to the Sudanese authorities in Nyala, South Darfur.
“Playing the role of neutral intermediary between parties to the conflict is an important part of our mandate. The Sudanese government and various armed opposition groups trust the ICRC to play this humanitarian role,” said the ICRC head of delegation in Sudan, Eloi Fillion. Five ICRC international staff accompanied the 18 soldiers on 2 and 3 September when they travelled by helicopter to Nyala.
The ICRC remains ready to provide support for similar operations in the future. The ICRC’s regular dialogue with the government authorities and various armed opposition groups enables the organization to play a unique role as an intermediary.
“After the handover, the ICRC team assisted the released individuals in contacting their families, who were very relieved to hear news of them,” said Mr Fillion.
The ICRC works to assist families find out what happened to relatives who have allegedly been arrested or who went missing in conflict. The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978 and extended its operations to Darfur in 2003. There, it helps people suffering from the effects of armed conflict and other violence. In 2015, the ICRC provided emergency support in different ways, including through: medical assistance, helping with water supplies; and the provision of agricultural tools and seeds.