Thirty children were released by the Sudanese Armed Forces on Friday in an operation facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Meanwhile, ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric visited the border region between Chad and western Darfur to see the humanitarian consequences of the conflict there.
The ICRC played the role of neutral intermediary during the release operation, organizing the safe transportation of the children by road from Khartoum to Wad Madani. ICRC delegates checked on their health and any concerns they may have prior to travel, provided them with clothes and hygiene items, and will be supporting them to re-establish contact with their families.
“The children released today should first and foremost be considered as victims of this conflict,” said Katja Lorenz, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Sudan. “We are relieved that they are released from detention and moved away from an area of active hostilities to an environment that is more appropriate for their situation and from where they can eventually be reunited with their families.”
The Ministry of Social Development will take custody of the 30 children, with ICRC teams following up on their situation and working to reconnect them with their family members.
While fighting in Sudan is ongoing, over 150,000 Sudanese refugees are now in Adré, on the border between Chad and the western Darfur region of Sudan. Most of the refugees are women and children fleeing extreme violence that has ravaged their homes and villages since April.
Thousands of families have been separated, and ICRC teams working together with the Red Cross Society of Chad have helped Sudanese refugees make hundreds of phone calls to their loved ones. About 560 refugees are now back in touch with their relatives.
ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric spoke with Sudanese refugees and local authorities in Adré.
“We are trying to make sure that they can at least contact their families. It is a primary concern for them to know where their relatives are. But they also need to be able to subsist on something,” said President Spoljaric. “Without additional resources these communities will not be able to absorb the pressure of so many additional people who have nothing to eat.”
Together with the Sudanese Red Crescent, the ICRC has provided relief and essential assistance to thousands of displaced people since the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan in mid-April. With limited resources and growing needs in eastern Chad and Sudan, the ICRC is appealing to its donors for additional funding to help those in need.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).