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South Sudan says releases 30 political prisoners

From Reuters - August 11, 2017

NAIROBI (Reuters) - South Sudan has released at least 30 political prisoners since President Salva Kiir declared an amnesty in May to facilitate national dialogue and douse a four-year civil war, a senior security official said.

Jalban Obaj, director of legal affairs at the Internal Security Bureau told SSBC state television late on Thursday that the prisoners had been set free at different times since the declaration of the amnesty.

Nearly all the ex-detainees, including Justin Wanawila Bilal, a religious cleric, had been accused of supporting opposition leader and former vice president Riek Machar.

"The release of the political detainees came as a gesture of good will," Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir's spokesman, told Reuters on Friday.

He said the freeing of the detainees without any precondition also demonstrated that Kiir was determined to resolve the country's conflict.

South Sudan was plunged into war in 2013 after a political disagreement between Kiir and Machar strained relations between the two. Kiir then sacked Machar as his deputy, triggering fighting between forces loyal to both men.

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