Sudan war: RSF ‘releases 739 SAF and police prisoners’

Still from a video showing the RSF North Darfur commander saluting troops in Mellit, on January 25 (Source: @RSFSudan via X)

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced the release of 739 prisoners, all members of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and police forces, on Saturday. In a press statement on its X account, El Fateh Gurashi, spokesperson for the RSF, said that the step comes in compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law, and accused the SAF of “killing and liquidating their forces”.

The paramilitary group that has been fighting the SAF since mid-April last year, informed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in February of their intention to release 537 members of the police, including officers, non-commissioned officers, and policemen, in addition to another initiative in May to release 202 army and police prisoners.

Gurashi said that the RSF received a written approval from the ICRC on June 4, to guard the release operation. Radio Dabanga has been unable to independently confirm the RSF claims.

The statement further indicated that the release of prisoners coincides with “the blessed days” of the current month of Dhu El Hijjah and Eid El Adha* that, depending on the sighting of the moon, will likely begin on the evening of Sunday, June 16.


In response to questions, the ICRC spokesperson in Sudan Adnan Hezam told Radio Dabanga that the organisation did not facilitate this specific operation, and therefore is unable to confirm any numbers.

“The parties concerned approached the ICRC to participate in the release, however we could not, due to a lack of security guarantees.”

Hezam notes that “the ICRC welcomes any initiative by any of the warring parties that can elevate the humanitarian tools, and ease the suffering”.

* Eid El Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice is the second of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam (the other being the Eid El Fitr, following the fasting month of Ramadan). It falls on the 10th day of the Dhu El Hijja to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.