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10 children released from armed groups

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Thursday, May 28, 2020

A former child soldier holds a gun as they participate in a child soldiers' release ceremony, outside Yambio, South Sudan, August 7, 2018 | Credit | Andreea Campeanu/Reuters

The United Nations Children Agency, UNICEF, has welcomed the release of 10 children who were associated with the armed forces in South Sudan.

The children include nine boys and one girl between the ages of 15 and 17, who were identified in one of the training centers of the unified forces in the capital, Juba, recently.

Parties to the revitalized peace agreement are currently conducting security sector reforms, which include cantonment, training, and deployment of a unified army.

Helene Sandbu Ryeng, the UNICEF Communication Specialist, told Eye Radio that, the disarmament and demobilization commission, UNMISS, and UNICEF were able to advocate for their release with support from the SSPDF.

Sandbu says the children are being accommodated at an interim care center while family tracing is ongoing.

“As you know, all the parties have committed to not using children at all, so at one of this cantonment sites, we came across 10 children and we advocated for their release knowing that there will be graduation later this week, we thought it was very urgent to remove them from that place,” Sandbu said on Thursday.

In 2019, UNICEF said there were about 19,000 children associated with the armed groups in South Sudan.

Between 2014 and 2018, about 4,000 children were released and reunited with their families, mainly in the former Gbudue, Boma, and Unity states.

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