Red Cross says ready to facilitate release of detainees in South Sudan

 2018-10-10 21

JUBA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Wednesday it was prepared to facilitate the release of detainees for all parties of the conflict in South Sudan, as mandated by the recently signed peace deal.

South Sudan’s revitalized peace pact permits the ICRC to facilitate release of persons detained in relation to the conflict.

“We have offered our services to all sides and confirmed our readiness to act as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees,” said Francois Stamm, the head of delegation for the ICRC, in South Sudan.

“The ICRC has previously acted as a neutral intermediary in release operations in South Sudan and we will do so again at the request of the parties to the conflict and with the consent of detainees,” he added.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Sept. 27 ordered the release of all prisoners of war and political detainees as part of a recently signed peace deal.

The country’s national security service last Thursday announced that it had freed 20 detainees following president Kiir’s amnesty to persons detained during the five-year-old conflict.

Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups early September signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the conflict that has devastated the country.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally. A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed in July 2016, following renewed violence in the capital, Juba.