UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
SUDAN: Negotiations continue for release of all abducted by SPLA
NAIROBI, 17 March (IRIN) - ICRC is negotiating the release of a Red Crescent worker and three local authority officials abducted alongside two of its staff by SPLA rebels on 18 February in southern Sudan, the organisation told IRIN today.
"ICRC has continued to ask the SPLA and strongly demands the release of the officials as quickly as possible. This is the furthest we can go. We cannot pressurise," ICRC spokesman Juan Martinez told IRIN. The ICRC staff were released on Friday and are in Nairobi.
Khartoum recently summoned ICRC's head of delegation to express its displeasure with the "partial release" of the hostages, a government statement received by IRIN said. He was told that the government was annoyed that pressure had not been put on the movement to release all the captives.
For its part, the SPLA said the Red Crescent worker would be granted his freedom during the course of the week. "It is only a question of logistics," SPLM spokesman in Nairobi Samson Kwaje told IRIN. "Since the foreigners were put in a different camp from the nationals, it became quite hard to move the Red Crescent worker to where the ICRC staff were and subsequently hand them over. Our plane could not stay long in the area because we could be bombed," Kwaje explained.
As for the three government officials, they have been taken as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention, he said.
"We are treating them very well and just interrogating them. Two of them are military people and the third is an administrator. ICRC is free to see them within the provisions of the Convention, but we are not in a hurry to release them," he added.
The team of seven were abducted by SPLA rebels as they were on a seed distribution mission to local residents in Kong in Pariang area in southern Sudan.
Date: Wed, March 17 From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: SUDAN: Negotiations continue for release of all abducted by SPLA
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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