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Armed groups conscript over 650 children – Unicef

Author : Junior Ali | Published: Friday, August 19, 2016

More than 650 children have been recruited into armed groups in the country since the beginning of this year, the UN children’s agency has said.

It did not specify the actual groups into which the minors have been recruited but says children continue to be recruited and used by armed groups and forces.

UNICEF warns that “renewed conflict could put tens of thousands of the children in the country at ever great risk.”

In a statement, the agency says the child recruitment is being carried out despite widespread political commitment to end the practice.

UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Justin Forsyth said children continue to be faced with “horrific” experiences in the country as “dreams once shared for them have become a nightmare.

However, the statement does not mention exactly where the child recruitment is taking place, but it quotes Mr. Forsyth speaking in Nairobi following a recent trip to Bentiu and Juba.

For its part, the SPLA urged UNICEF to be specific on the areas where the children have been recruited into the forces in the country.

“Let UNICEF give us a report on where these 600 recruits are, which area? Asked Brigadier Lul Ruai Koang, Spokesperson.

“They should be specific about where the recruitment took place for us to follow the lead.

“The time it was reported that the recruitment of child soldiers was taking place in former Unity state, SPLA Child Protection Unit went to the area, and only registered about ten.”

The SPLM in Opposition, including the other armed groups are yet to comment on the matter.

Mr. Justin Forsyth also noted that Gender Based Violence has also become widespread in the country.

He warns that “without a fully operational humanitarian sector, the consequences for children and their families will be catastrophic”.

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