The Justice and Equality Movement yesterday said that two prisoners had died as a result of injuries received in fighting between the rebel movement and the military in the surroundings of Um Katkout in South Darfur. The men had been part of a group of a dozen captives that JEM had tried to turn over to the government through the Red Cross. The rebel movement claims that the government refused to receive 12 prisoners that it intended to surrender through the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nyala. The rebels’ director of humanitarian affairs, Suleiman Jamous, told Radio Dabanga last week that four of the men were wounded and dangerously infected. He described the 12 men as two officers, eight soldiers and two border guards.Another JEM official, Mohammad Ali Mohammadin, said yesterday that the Red Cross had received word from the government that it would respond to them within forty-eight hours. Meanwhile, a number of relatives of the prisoners condemned the government’s position as immoral. They said their sons were captured in recent fighting with JEM in the areas Um Katkout and ‘Uzban Duma in South Darfur. Speaking over Radio Dabanga, they urged their sons not to fight again alongside government forces. One of the citizens said that that the government mobilized civilians to fight alongside soldiers, but abandoned them and did not even bury them. He said that relatives found tens of unburied dead on the battlefields, and added that they had started to directly contact the rebel movement about their detained sons.
Last week JEM announced the names of 19 prisoners that it said were captured in the battle of Um Katkout. Only eight of them had military identification cards.