The Sudanese Armed Forces said Thursday that they will release five South Sudanese prisoners of war next week, as a sign of goodwill, and asked South Sudan to release any Sudanese prisoners it might be holding.
The five prisoners from South Sudan will be handed over to Red Cross officials on February 11 in the city of Nially in Darfur, the SAF said in a statement.
South Sudan has not reacted to the statement announcing the release of the SPLA soldiers or responded to the request to release Sudanese prisoners. Calls for comment were placed to several South Sudanese government officials, but none of them answered their phones. Government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin agreed to speak with a reporter at his office, but left without speaking with the reporter.
The Sudanese military authorities said the five SPLA prisoners of war who will be released next week are the only POWs from South Sudan in their custody.
To hear the names of the prisoners that Sudan will release, listen to this interview between VOA News correspondent Ismail Kushkush in Khartoum and Carol van Dam Falk in Washington, D.C.