The Sudan People's Liberation Movement on Tuesday released a total of 176 detainees who had been held for more than five years in the Sudanese civil war, the international Red Cross said. The war, which pitted the Muslim Arab-led government in Khartoum against the mostly Christian and animist south, led by the SPLM, lasted over two decades until a peace deal last month.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Sudanese Red Crescent society transferred the prisoners from their places of detention in the east of the country and handed them over to Sudanese authorities in Khartoum, an ICRC statement said.
"ICRC delegates held private interviews with all the released detainees prior to their transfer to establish that each was returning home of his own free will," the statement said. "The ICRC also offered them access to medical services."
The ICRC first registered the detainees in 2002 and visited them to monitor the conditions they were being held in and to allow them to communicate with their families through the Red Cross message service.