87 GIRLS, 224 BOYS RECRUITED AS SOLDIERS WIN FREEDOM
More than 300 child soldiers were released Wednesday by armed groups in South Sudan, the second-largest such release since civil war began five years ago. The “laying down of the guns” ceremony for 87 girls and 224 boys was the first step in a process that should see at least 700 child soldiers freed in the coming weeks, the United Nations said. Putting down weapons and rejoining normal life is just the “beginning of the journey,” said the head of the UN mission in South Sudan, David Shearer. More than 19,000 children are thought to have been recruited by all sides since the civil war broke out in 2013. The UN has released almost 2,000. However, human rights groups say child recruitment continues.