Su­dan group to end use of child sol­diers

There has been fight­ing be­tween the army and rebels since 2011

The Star (Kenya) - - News World -

REUTERS/ One of Su­dan’s largest rebel groups, the Su­dan Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment-North, signed an ac­cord on Wed­nes­day with the United Na­tions to end the use of child sol­diers, a UN rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

There has been fight­ing be­tween the Su­danese army and rebels in the south­ern re­gions of Kord­o­fan and Blue Nile since 2011, when ad­ja­cent South Su­dan de­clared in­de­pen­dence.

Con­flict in Dar­fur be­gan in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab-led gov­ern­ment based in the cap­i­tal Khar­toum.

Talks to se­cure a last­ing cease­fire in the three war­ring re­gions un­der a road map for peace col­lapsed ear­lier this year, less than a week af­ter they be­gan.

SPLM-North chair­man Ma­lik Agar signed an ac­tion plan at a cer­e­mony in Geneva out­lin­ing mea­sures to end re­cruit­ment of chil­dren un­der the age of 18 and re­lease those cur­rently in the group’s ranks.

“SPLM-N is firmly com­mit­ted to the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren in con­flict and to­day’s sign­ing is a con­ti­nu­ity of that com­mit­ment,” Agar said fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony.

Nei­ther Agar nor UN of­fi­cials present at the cer­e­mony pro­vided fig­ures on the num­ber of child sol­diers in­volved in the con­flict.

A UN state­ment said the group would be re­moved from a list of par­ties ac­cused of child re­cruit­ment in its an­nual re­port on chil­dren and armed con­flict upon com­ple­tion of all steps agreed to in the ac­tion plan.

UN of­fi­cials said they signed a sim­i­lar agree­ment with Khar­toum in March 2016 and hoped to com­plete more with the coun­try’s other ma­jor rebel groups.

/FILE

Young mem­bers of the South Su­dan Demo­cratic Move­ment/Army in Gu­mu­ruk, Su­dan, on May 13, 2014

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