South Sudanese president orders to release PoWs, political detainees

By Deng Machol

South Sudan President Salva Kiir
South Sudan President Salva Kiir

Juba – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Thursday ordered to release all the prisoners of war, and political detainees in line with the revitalized peace agreement signed last month.

President Kiir ordered Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak to release all prisoners of War and detainees immediately as part of the implementation of the peace agreement, under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In a republican order read on the state-run TV, SSBC last evening, Kiir instructed the Chief of Defense Forces and the commanders of all the regular forces to register and hand over the PoWs and detainees to any third party (the ICRC).

“The President of the republic and commander-in-chief of the SPLA has issued a Republican Order No. 17 for the implementation of the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements as per the provisions of R-ARCISS,” said part of the decree.

The presidential decision comes in line with Chapter II (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) article 6 of section one dedicated to the permanent ceasefire.

 The President further instructed the Chief of Defense Forces to direct all the SPLA forces to refrain from revenge attack or retaliation as well as stop training of any recruits immediately.

Kiir also directed the Chief of Defense Forces to ensure the orders are implemented with immediate effect. He also directed the army forces to cease the training of any recruits immediately.

The release of PoWs and detainees is one most awaited steps by the opposition groups and analyst saying it is a concrete measure that would help to reassure the full commitment to the signed revitalized peace deal, aims to end nearly five years conflict that has killed tenths thousands of the people and displaced 2.5 million people from their homes.

Of recently, the first Vice President Designate, Dr. Machar appealed to President Kiir to release all political detainees and lift the state of emergency if he is to come to Juba to attend peace celebrations. He also calls on Kiir to allow freedom of expression of the citizens and guarantee their safety.

Among the detainees, James Gadet Dak, former spokesperson of Dr. Riek Machar,  SPLM-IO senior official, Aggrey Idr Ezbon, a well-known activist, Dong Samuel Luak and Opposition appointed Kapoeta governor, Marko Lokidor and plus the young entrepreneur Mr. Kerbino Wol.

In the related development, President Kiir, earlier on Thursday in SPLA headquarters, before republic ordered, directed the South Sudanese army and other regular forces to abide by the revitalized peace agreement, observe the rule of law and to not commit any attacks on civilians in the country. He said military courts would be established to punish the perpetrators of any aggression on civilians during the pre-transitional period.

President Kiir further concluded that he would issue a presidential decree changing the name of the SPLA to South Sudan People Defence Force (SSPDF) soon.

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