February 12, 2019 (JUBA) — Over 3100 child soldier have been released by the South Sudanese armed groups which signed fought each other during the past five years.
- Child soldiers salute their commander (AFP)
The figure was announced by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund on Tuesday in a statement reporting the demobilization of a new batch of children in by the South Sudan National Liberation Movement in Yambio.
“One hundred and nineteen children were released by an armed group in South Sudan Tuesday, bringing the total number of those freed since the conflict began to more than 3,100. Forty-eight girls were among the group, with the youngest child being 10-years-old”.
“Every child no longer with an armed group represents a childhood restored and a future regained,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, who visited South Sudan in January last year.
Fore further disclosed that more than 19,000 child soldiers are still in the ranks of the armed groups.
Since February 2018, more than 1,000 children have been released by various armed groups.
The UNICEF former child soldiers ware received a reintegration package including clothes, shoes, and other basic commodities.
Further, each child is provided with three years of reintegration support to assist their return to civilian life and prevent re-recruitment.
The government and several rebel groups signed the revitalized peace agreement on 12 September 2018. However, clashes continue in the country particularly in the southern region of Equatoria.