Sudanese army to hand over 230 RSF prisoners, including child soldiers

The military has contacted the Red Cross about the release of the children in Omdurman

Members of the Rapid Support Forces travel through greater Khartoum. The group has been fighting against the army since April. AFP
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Sudan’s army has said it is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross to hand over more than 230 captured members of the Rapid Support Forces, including about 30 alleged child soldiers.

The fighters are to be handed over in western Omdurman, north of the capital Khartoum, the army said.

The handover of child soldiers is to take place after a response is received from representatives of the ICRC, who were contacted on August 28, the army said in a statement published by the Sudan News Agency.

“Another group consisting of 200 rebels [other than children] will also be handed over when the necessary arrangements are completed with representatives of the Red Cross," the army said.

At least 5,000 people have been killed in the war between the Sudanese army, led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, the RSF, commanded by Gen Hamdan Dagalo, according to estimates from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project, a war monitoring group.

The violence has also caused mass displacement, with 4.8 million people fleeing their homes, the UN has said. About a million have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries.

In Geneva, the UN refugee agency said it and its partners had appealed for $1 billion "to provide essential aid and protection to over 1.8 million people expected to arrive in five neighbouring countries by the end of 2023, fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan".

NGOs in Sudan have sounded the alarm about the increasing number of child soldiers recruited by both sides since the start of the war in April.

The Darfur Bar Association has expressed concern about reports of children being used by the army and others photographed wearing RSF uniforms near Al Shagarah base, home to the army headquarters.

The base has been the site of some of the fiercest battles between the army and RSF.

On Tuesday, Port Sudan airport welcomed the first flight from Egypt since being shut down following the outbreak of the conflict.

EgyptAir Dlight MS 865 from Cairo landed at the airport at 6.32am local time. Another EgyptAir plane was due to fly to Cairo an hour later.

Updated: September 05, 2023, 9:14 AM