SA man safely home from Sudan

2012-05-22 18:34

Johannesburg - A South African held in Sudan since last month arrived safely back in South Africa on Wednesday.

Thabo Siavhe was welcomed by tears and the happy shouts of his family as he arrived at OR Tambo Airport at about 13:00 on Thursday.

"I am so happy to be back, I just want to be with my family now," an emotional Siavhe said as relatives hugged and kissed him.

Concerning his experience in Sudan, he said he was as scared as anyone would have been in the same situation.

"I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but they treated me good."

His two children, Lucky, 1, and Ndivhuwo, 4, were confused by all the commotion as their father arrived.

"We are so happy to have him safely back, we were so worried," said Musiwa Makumunyi, Siavhe's younger brother.

He said his family had travelled from Limpopo for this special event.

Siavhe was one of four foreigners who were held in Sudan since last month.

They were arrested in Sudan's disputed border area with South Sudan.

The release of the foreign nationals - from Britain, Norway, South Africa and South Sudan - was announced on Sunday.

Mediation talks led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki in Khartoum paved the way for their freedom.

At the time of their arrest, Khartoum accused the four of "suspicious activities" in the disputed area of Heglig.

The United Nations said the group, which also included a UN employee and two staff of the South African demining group Mechem, was working on a UN-backed demining (locating and disabling landmines) assessment 145km away.

South Sudan separated from the north in 2011, but serious disputes over oil exports and border demarcation remain.

Mbeki has been a key player in attempts to find lasting peace between the two countries.

Read more on:    thabo mbeki  |  sudan  |  east africa

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