A total of 19 Central African soldiers, taken hostage on February 14 by an alliance of rebel groups in the north of the Central African Republic, were released on Tuesday, announced the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Of the 20 soldiers taken hostage more than two months ago, 19 were released and “will arrive in Birao (North) around 5 p.m. (local) and they will stay there until we organize their return to Bangui” , Yves Van Loo , deputy head of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic, told AFP.

They had been taken hostage by members of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) after “violent fighting” between soldiers and rebels in Sikikede, a locality in the Vakaga region in the north of the country, at the crossroads of Chadian and Sudanese borders.

According to the government, these clashes had caused “considerable” military losses, which had not communicated a precise assessment. The soldiers “seem to be in good health and able to withstand the trip,” said Mr. Van Loo.