State Foreign Minister Najib al-Khair Abd al-Wahab said on Sunday that Khartoum's Foreign Ministry and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had signed an agreement on the release and transport of the POWs.

Quoting the ICRC, the minister said the prisoners would be freed this week.    

Under the agreement, the Red Cross would use its planes and other means of transport to bring the prisoners from the south to the north.

The SPLM signed a peace agreement with Khartoum on 9 January, ending more than two decades of civil war.