Sudanese army hands over 30 minor prisoners of war to ICRC

People fleeing from Sudan arrive at a bus station in Aswan, Egypt, on April 25, 2023. [Xinhua]

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Friday said it handed over 30 prisoners of war under the age of 18 to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"Today, the armed forces handed over 30 minors, less than 18 years old, detained while they were fighting within the ranks of the dissolved rebel Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia during previous battles," the SAF said in a statement.

The ICRC representative would hand them over to the National Council for Child Welfare prior to handing them over to their families, the statement said.

On Thursday, the independent Sudan Tribune news portal reported on its website that the National Council for Child Welfare had sent a letter to Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, accusing the RSF of recruiting thousands of children and committing violations against thousands of others.

"The RSF practiced shameful behavior by forcibly recruiting minor children and forcing them to fight," the report said.

It noted that the since the war broke out, the RSF started recruiting children in camps in eastern Nile neighborhood of Bahri city and in southern Omdurman, before the recruitment extended to areas in western Sudan.

The Sudanese Criminal Code prohibits the recruitment of children, as does the Act of the National Council for Child Welfare and the Child Law.

In July, the SAF accused the RSF of exploiting children and recruiting them to fight in the ongoing war between the two parties.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly clashes between the SAF and the RSF in Khartoum and other areas since April 15, resulting in at least 3,000 deaths and more than 6,000 injuries, according to figures released by the Sudanese Health Ministry.