Salva Kiir frees 20 South Sudan political detainees

JUBA – South Sudan’s national security service has freed at least 20 detainees following a presidential amnesty to persons detained during the five-year-old conflict, state radio reported on Thursday.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir last week ordered the release of all prisoners of war and political detainees as part of a recently signed peace deal.

Kiir asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to supervise the release of the prisoners.

An official of the country’s internal security service told South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) that the freed detainees were arrested in connection with rebellious activities against the state, without giving details of the released individuals.

The ICRC has not commented about the reported release of the prisoners.

Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups early last month signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the conflict that has devastated the world’s youngest nation.

However, the latest deal is being threatened by a fresh wave of clashes that erupted shortly after it was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Both government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), have blamed each other for the renewed fighting in parts of the east African country.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed in July 2016, following renewed violence in the capital, Juba.

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