June 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM)- Ethiopia Thursday denied obstructing the return of around 42 Sudanese Prisoners of War (POWs) and detainees held by the SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Since several days, it was announced that the Sudanese POWs and detainees will be transported by International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in two batches to Khartoum via Addis Ababa on Thursday and Friday.
However, the ICRC said, on Saturday, that it has adjourned sine die the transportation of the POWs and detainees due to the failure to obtain a fly permission from Asosa airport in Ethiopia.
While the SPLM-N accused Khartoum of spoiling the operation, some members of the Islamist Sa’ihoon group, in a separate statement, held the Ethiopian government responsible for the non-completion of the release process.
Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defence Forces combatants who at one point formed the backbone of the regime that came to power through a coup in 1989.
During a Ramdan Iftar at his home, the Ethiopian ambassador to Khartoum denied the deliberate obstruction of the operation saying that “a misunderstanding occurred at the handover moment between senior leaders in the center and field commanders”.
“Ethiopia did not obstruct any efforts to transport the POWs back home,” the ambassador affirmed.
Two planes of the ICRC were supposed to transport the POWs from the rebel controlled areas of Yabous in Blue Nile state and Kauda in South Kordofan state to Asosa before to head to Khartoum.
The SPLM-N agreed to release the detainees in response to Sa’ihoon group initiative.
The Secretary General of the Sa’ihoon group and the SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman agreed, during a meeting in Addis Ababa in November, 30, 2014, that the Sa’ihoon would broker the release of the detainees of both parties to the conflict.