Su­danese rebels re­lease over 200 child sol­diers

African Times - - International / Africa -


REBEL groups have re­leased 210 chil­dren, in­clud­ing girls, used as sol­diers in the war-torn South Su­dan.

The re­lease of the mi­nors by the Na­tional Sal­va­tion Front and Su­dan Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment-in-Op­po­si­tion brings the to­tal num­ber of chil­dren re­leased by rebel groups in 2018 to 806.

The young­sters have for­mally been dis­armed and pro­vided with civil­ian clothes. They will un­dergo med­i­cal screen­ings and re­ceive coun­selling and psy­choso­cial sup­port as part of a rein­te­gra­tion pro­gramme.

It was the third such cer­e­mony to take place since the be­gin­ning of the year.Ad­di­tional re­leases are ex­pected in the com­ing months that could re­sult in more than 1 000 chil­dren be­ing freed.

How­ever, an es­ti­mated 19 000 chil­dren con­tinue serv­ing in the ranks of the na­tional armed forces and rebel groups in South Su­dan.

Mahimbo Mdoe, the United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF) rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the east African coun­try, ex­pressed hope the re­cruit­ment of chil­dren would even­tu­ally be elim­i­nated.

“Ev­ery a time a child is re­leased and able to re­turn to their fam­ily, it is a source of great hope for their fu­ture and for the fu­ture of the coun­try,” Mdoe said.

The UN en­voy urged all par­ties to the con­flict to end the re­cruit­ment of chil­dren and re­lease all un­der­age sol­diers in their ranks.

South Su­dan is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a civil war trig­gered by a power strug­gle be­tween its lead­ers in 2013, two years af­ter in­de­pen­dence from Su­dan.

An es­ti­mated 300 000 civil­ians have been killed.

Al­most 4 mil­lion peo­ple- a third of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion-are dis­placed in the world’s new­est coun­try.

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