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Twenty-two (22) people who have been detained in Central Equatoria region following last week’s fighting in Yei River have been released by an armed group according to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC).
Last week, fighting erupted between the South Sudan army, the SSPDF, and armed elements of the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka who is not a signatory to the last year’s peace deal.
In a statement issued on Monday, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) announced that it has facilitated the release of twenty-two (22) people who were captured during recent fighting in Central Equatoria and successfully transported them to the capital Juba.
“The ICRC has managed to facilitate the release and transport by air to Juba of 22 persons, who had been caught up in ongoing nearby fighting, from a remote location in the Central Equatoria region of South Sudan,” the statement partly read.
A ICRC head of delegation in South Sudan, James Reynolds, said the exchange which happened in a critical season will help assure the families of the missing that their loved ones are still alive.
“This exchange, happening at the festive season, will allow many families to know their loved ones are safe,” Reynolds said.
He further revealed that the facilitation of their release and transportation to Juba followed a a engagement between the ICRC, the government of South Sudan following a rebel group which he said is affiliated to the holdout South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo.
“The operation itself took place after discussions with government authorities and other stakeholders and following a request of representatives of an armed group affiliated to the National Democratic Alliance, a body not currently party to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS),” he further said.